Nintendo President Satoru Iwata Passes Away

1959-2015.

581 Comments

Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, passed away on Saturday due to ongoing health complications. He was 55 years old.

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Nintendo announced that the widely respected chief executive died on July 11 "due to a bile duct growth." Two representative directors remain at the company: Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto.

Iwata was first appointed as the director of Nintendo in June 2000. He was promoted to the position of president and representative director of Nintendo in 2002, following the resignation of Hiroshi Yamauchi. He also assumed responsibilities as chief executive of Nintendo of America in 2013.

In related matters:

  • Shigeru Miyamoto has issued a statement: “I am surprised at this sudden news and overcome with sadness.”
  • Tributes have poured in from across the industry, with leaders at Sony, Microsoft, and the development community paying their respects.
  • Nintendo of Europe President Satoru Shibata released a statement addressing the passing of his colleague. "It is difficult to put into words the sadness we feel at this time," he said. "He was a visionary in every sense of the word and we will miss him dearly. Just as Mr. Iwata challenged us to always push forward, we will ensure his legacy lives on through our ongoing work to always surprise and delight our fans."
  • GameSpot has published a gallery tribute that looks through Iwata's defining career.
  • Nintendo composer Hip Tanaka has released a remix of the Balloon Fight theme, a game which Iwata was a key designer and developer on.
  • Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime has said "it will be years before his impact on both Nintendo and the full video game industry will be fully appreciated." Speaking to Benzinga, Fils-Aime added: "He was a strong leader for our company and his attributes were clear to everyone: Intelligence, creativity, curiosity, and sense of humor. But for those of us fortunate enough to work closely with him, what will be remembered most is his mentorship and, especially, his friendship. He was a wonderful man. He always challenged us to push forward, to try the new, to upset paradigms--and most of all, to engage, excite and endear our fans. That work will continue uninterrupted."
  • The Entertainment Software Association has released a statement: "Iwata-san's passing affects us all deeply," president and CEO Michael Gallagher said. "He was a true visionary who expanded our understanding of the amazing art of video games. We offer our condolences to his family, friends, and Nintendo colleagues."

In the wake of Iwata's shock death, Nintendo must begin a new search for its next chief executive. The corporation has told GameSpot that succession plans have "not been decided at this point."

But it adds that the two acting representative directors, Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto, have already taken on the task of managing the business, and as such is hoping for a smooth transition.

The company states: "Other than Mr. Iwata, we have two representative directors (Mr. Takeda and Mr. Miyamoto). Even by now, these representative directors have been together discussing and managing to operate the company, so we anticipate no issue in the near future."

Iwata was absent from E3 last year due to health issues, later revealed to be a bile duct growth which was removed via surgery. He resumed his regular work schedule in October last year, although there were concerns about his rapid weight loss following treatment. Iwata was not present at this year's E3, staying in Japan in order to focus on Nintendo's "other areas of business."

Prior to joining Nintendo, Iwata worked at HAL Laboratory as a programmer and designer. During his time there he worked on several games including the Kirby, Earthbound, and Balloon Fight series. He would go on to become president of HAL in 1993.

Iwata garnered the adoration of fans and the industry as a whole through his candid demeanor and willingness to embody the playful nature of Nintendo's games, even as CEO of the company. Last year he took a 50 percent pay cut to apologise for the company's disappointing financial results, following lower Wii U sales than was projected.

In addition to his regular Iwata Asks column, in which he would interview key members of various upcoming games, Iwata was also the face of the company's Nintendo Direct events. These streams, while primarily designed to make game announcements and provide updates on ongoing projects, became something more thanks to weird and wonderful skits, many of which Iwata would participate in.

"On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer."

Satoru Iwata, 1959-2015

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deactivated-5b233d0d437c9

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Respect.

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greenpolyp

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Nintendo has fallen and will never rise again. There is such a thing as dying from a broken heart.

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Stogin

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Man had no idea he was in this bad of shape, really sucks to hear, RIP!

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BlueFlameBat

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Disagreements aside, I find his passing saddening.

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jinzo9988

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Edited By jinzo9988

The thing that I liked about him is that he never forgot where he came from, and never let his stature get in the way of who he is (and who we would like to think every person in the games industry is, but sadly that isn't the case), which is a gamer. He never forgot to use the word fun. In an era where people emphasize resolutions, frame rates, X feature, Y piece of DLC and Z voice actor... he never forgot to put fun into the equation. While fun is subjective and not everything appeals to everybody, it's nice to know that at the end of the day he wanted people to have fun. He also wasn't afraid to make an ass out of himself all in good fun. If only every suit and tie could be that way.

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Jinzo_111887

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Edited By Jinzo_111887

@jinzo9988: Indeed. Nintendo was about fun. It's a shame things have taken a turn for the worse with the other two consoles focused on those other things and nickle and diming gamers.

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quickshooterMk2

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it's all ruse to increase WiiU sales!

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DivineJester

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I will be honest, under his watch Nintendo has become a joke, churning out underdeveloped consoles that rely on gimmicks that have really short life cycles, and rely progressively more and more on a handful of first party titles.

That said this is sad news, you don't want to see anyone go out at such a young age, and while don't think highly of him in terms of software/hardware design, he was like Steve Jobs, at least great at one thing, at that is marketing as the Wii can attest to.

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Shadowmax889

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@divinejester: Well i think he was a good CEO. He made HAL in to profit and rescue it from bankruptcy, he turn Nintendo form the almost oblivion in the Gamecube/GBadvance era to the success of the Wii/DS era, in less than a year turn around the faliure of the 3DS into the succes that it is today with the fearless competition of tablets and smartphones. So much money had Nintendo from the profits of the last generation that they could make a new R&D building inside Kyoto (one of the most expensive cities in the world) and shield the company from whatever faliure they could have with future consoles.

Now tell me again how he was a bad CEO.

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jinzo9988

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Edited By jinzo9988
@Shadowmax889 said:

@divinejester: Now tell me again how he was a bad CEO.

He was a bad CEO because he refused to do what everyone else was doing and instead continued down his own path... carving out a niche, welcoming a new audience to the world of gaming, and continuing to give people different games that are distinctly Nintendo in an age littered with brown and grey color schemes and games that take themselves way too seriously.

I don't agree with every decision that he's made, but being different is hardly a point of ridicule. Variety is always a good thing.

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bigruss51

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And the value of the wiiU just went up.

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Gravity_Slave

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I love how everyone was in agreement of what a terrible a CEO for Nintendo Iwata was and now all of a sudden he's a visionary and saint. DYING DOESNT MAKE YOU AWESOME.

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benandmax

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@Gravity_SlaveWell, the Wii U is my favorite console, and Iwata was my favorite CEO by a long shot.. He did things different from the other two. If you have real life friends with you in the same room, it would be hard to argue the Wii U would be the best console to have. I enjoy it when people think outside the box.

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Shadowmax889

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@Gravity_Slave: Well i think some people like me think he was actualy a good CEO. But he was human and made some mistakes at least lately.

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gamer6130

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sad to hear this RIP.

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PixelAddict

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55... so young. RIP.

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vadagar1

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always the nice people die young

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FanboyMan

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Edited By FanboyMan

R.I.P. Iwata san, a sad time for fans of games, creativity & fun in general.

Some people say Miyamoto should take over but he doesn't seem like he's interested in running the business side of Nintendo. Whoever the new CEO is I hope he ( or she ) understands the vision of Nintendo instead of someone who will focus on better graphics over gameplay to compete ( at times like these some may look to Reggie & ask if his body is truly ready? )

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GameFan1983

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Sad, I remember couple month ago there's an article talked he's recovered from a type of cancer and recovered well, and now suddenly this, WTH?

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Get_Shorty

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So sad

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Rovelius

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As Mario would say... resteroni in pepperoni. The man reached the hearts of thousands of gamers through his work and shall be missed.....

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shanoobergloobe

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Edited By shanoobergloobe

:(

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Zair

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First thing I saw on the web when I got up this morning and it is very sad news. Undoubtedly his influence on the industry will ripple and circulate on for many years. I hope he will be well remembered and rests in peace.

His work has had a big impact on me as a gamers, so I am bound to remember him for years to come...

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Marsh87

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Sayonara Iwata-dono

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Mr_Mark_Legion

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this guy and xbox has shown us 2 different ways to die.

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FanboyMan

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@Mr_Mark_Legion: Wow, really?

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deactivated-5a34018f5f9ca

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@Mr_Mark_Legion: Go show us a 3rd.

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tsunami2311

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sad days for nintendo, wonder who is gona replace him and if they will point nintendo in the right direction

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JoInfo

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Regardless of what platform or company you choose to game with, this man dedicated his life to the industry. RIP Satoru Iwata

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BDRTFM

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Such a shame. Way too young. Guy was only 5 years older than me. My condolences to all who knew him. Such a kind spirited man. He will be greatly missed by hundred of millions. Thank you for the many years of entertainment.

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santinegrete

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Can't believe this. It's like, I don't know, too sudden. Rest in Peace Iwata, a man like you is and will be great for your achievements and mistakes (that consequentally turn out to be experience :D).

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G_W_X

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Edited By G_W_X

I was deeply saddenned when I was just popping into Miiverse to check up and lo and behold I saw the announcement on there.

I could not believe what I was reading. Mr Iwata passed away...and on my birthdate at that.

I will miss you Mr Iwata-san....thanks for all the memories....E3s Nintendo directs, Iwata asks....and thanks for making Nintendo what it is today which you were instrumental in...and providing us Nintendo fans with awesome consoles and games to play on them.

Back to the COSMIC SOURCE you go I guess. Say Hi to Yamauchi-san and tell him we await the biggest Megatonne news as Nintendo carries on your great work when you lead the ship....and reveals the new codename NX system that I think will change gaming ....way more than any console Nintendo ever created!(you all wait and see..i feel it heh)

So thanks again and my deepest condolences to your family, friends and all Nintendo colleauges worldwide.

Thank you Iwata-san. God speed back to the COSMIC SOURCE.

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strrckshn

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RIP Iwata-San. You'll be sorely missed.

https://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/2265/3194/original.jpg?w=800&h

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Cristero

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May his soul rest in peace. Thanks for all you gave us.

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Smokin105

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I was never a big Nintendo fan until the N64. And things only got better from there. RIP Mr. Iwata, we have more to thank you for than we probably realize.

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GoodGamesGuy

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R.I.P to a legend. Awesome quote.

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deactivated-5ce97e3367e28

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A true legend. Although, like many fans, I didn't know him personally, from what I've heard he was gentleman. He was a creative genius, and will be sorely missed. RIP.

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SaturatedButter

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"bile duct growth"

Excuse me while I vomit my breakfast up.

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PyreofKoL

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Rest in peace, sir. Thanks for everything over the years.

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Viral-venom13

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R.I.P Mr. Iwata!

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Jeff_T97

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Sad loss for Nintendo and the gaming world.. Rest in peace Mr.Iwata

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Smurggel

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RIP. Iwata.

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esqueejy

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That's sad...he was pretty young.

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Arsyad00

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A Great loss to the gaming world. :(

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westsiderz28

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man what a shock, iwata the nintendo legend RIP

very very fond memories i have from all the nintendo games..... thankyou

a massive massive loss

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Inayasu

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RIP Iwata San

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