Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata passes away

Nintendo has announced that company legend Satoru Iwata has sadly passed away at the age of 55.

The CEO and president of Nintendo died of cancer of the bile duct on the weekend. His ill health first came to light when it was confirmed he was going to miss trade show E3 last year. 

After graduating from university, Iwata first joined HAL Laboratory as a games developer, before becoming the company’s coordinator of software production in 1983 and the firm’s president in 1993, as he helped to stabilize HAL’s finances. 

He worked on EarthBound, Kirby and Pokémon games, before joining Nintendo in 2000 as the head of its corporate planning division and being promoted to president in 2002.

Iwata helped launch the successful Nintendo Wii and DS game consoles, and recently spearheaded the firm’s approaching move onto smartphones after increasing pressure from investors. He has also overseen the development of the upcoming ‘NX’ console.

He admirably refused to lay off large numbers of staff, and instead cut his own salary in half in 2011 to preserve the jobs of those below him. Iwata was also known for fronting Nintendo’s own Nintendo Direct video news updates online, including unboxing videos like this.

We’ll leave you with one of our favourite quotes from Iwata: "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."

For more on Iwata’s career and tributes from the games industry, check out this piece on PCR’s sister site MCV

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