While still at university studying computer sciences, Iwata did freelance programming for HAL Laboratory, Inc (famous for classics such as Kirby and Earthbound). “He created a whole culture”, said Nobuyuki Hayashi, a consultant and technology expert. The Gamecube didn’t do almost as well as the iconic console from their Japanese rivals Sony known as the PlayStation 2, so Iwata set out to make their next line of products accessible and appealing to a wide range of consumers. “He was special”, added Mr. Hayashi. “On my business card, I am a corporate president“, he said, during a speech in 2005. It wasn’t even that bad an E3 either, as I kept reminding people.
The death of the man who called himself a “gamer at heart” hit the gaming community hard. Upon taking over the company in 2002, Iwata breathed life back into the company: Nintendo was able to report substantial growth for the next 15 years, according to NBC News. He was tapped as president at a surprisingly young age, in his early 40s, for a Japanese company. He became the first person outside of the Yamauchi family to head Nintendo. The company did the same on the handheld front with the advent of the Nintendo DS. He declared the choice in March as tough rivalry from system enemies and mobile phone gaming apps repeated to pull on commissions.
Born and brought up in Sapporo, Mr Iwata’s everlasting passion for games began in high school, where he found out how to programme a baseball game on a calculator. He also assumed the CEO post of Redmond-based Nintendo of America in 2013.
Iwata’s influence in modern gaming is virtually unrivalled. He frequently interacted with fans online and emceed the company’s biggest releases. The company announced today in a short statement that the 55 year old leader, who joined the company in 2000, has died.
Iwata was named director of Nintendo’s operations in June 2000. The motion-control, multi-sports was sold with consoles and instantly became the best-selling videogame of all time.
Time Magazine said that Iwata mattered because he was one of the few gaming executives with hands-on experience.
A replacement has not yet been announced.
Super Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto has now given an official comment on the passing of Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. This was just the latest project Mr. Iwata would be overseeing in his time.
This report includes material from the Associated Pres.