Satoru Iwata, the president of Japanese video game maker Nintendo Co., Ltd, has died of cancer at the age of 55. Last year, he underwent surgery but later resumed his duties after a short period of recovery. It was disclosed by the company that the cause of death was a growth in his bile duct.
Satoru was highly respected within Japanese gaming community for Nintendo’s successful turnaround after he joined the company as the president in the year 2002. Under his leadership, Nintendo not only became part of a rapidly growing mobile sector but also launched its highly successful Wii and Nintendo DS consoles. The company was able to gain a much wider audience when Satoru shifted the focus towards easy-to-use consoles.
Earlier this year, Nintendo made a surprising announcement of bringing its original apps for smartphones and tablets. For this purpose, the company had partnered with a mobile gaming venture, DeNA. According to a research firm, breaking into the mobile industry could be huge for Nintendo since mobile gaming industry will be worth $30 billion this year. Nintendo mobile apps have the potential to change the gaming industry. Imagine having Super Mario and Legends of Zelda on Mobile. No doubt, Satoru realised the huge potential of increasing mobile gaming market.
Satoru joined the company back in 1980’s as a programmer, then he was appointed as a director in 2000 and later became the president in 2002. In 2013, he was also named the CEO of Nintendo America. He was an avid gamer himself. Satoru Iwata in his 2005 GDC Keynote said,
“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.”