Satoru Iwata: count down over, game ends sadly

Nintendo’s President and CEO, Satoru Iwata

Nintendo’s President and CEO, Satoru Iwata passes away at 55

A great loss…..

It’s gloomy day for all gamers. Nintendo’s boss Satoru Iwata, 55, succumbed to cancer on Saturday, July 11, 2015. He was suffering from bile duct growth for a long time.

Last year, Iwata underwent a surgery to have the growth removed. Typical of a workaholic that he is, he reported back to work much before be convalesced. The bile duct tumour did not let him attend North America’s largest video game expo known as “the Electronic Entertainment Expo” for the last last two years.

Regarded as the titan in the gaming industry, Satoru Iwata used to monitor every single detail of games he created. Born on December 6, 1959, in Sapporo, Japan, Iwata developed a passion for video games, right from his childhood. Since then as a teenager, Iwata became interested in video game programming, where he created simple games on his calculator.

Satoru Iwata

Early in the ‘80s, after graduating from college, he began his career as a freelance programmer, by joining the Tokyo-based developer HAL Laboratory, a subsidiary of Nintendo. After a brief stint in this role, he became a full-timer. During his stay at HAL, he created classic games like Balloon Fight and the Kirby and Earthbound franchises. Iwata, then filled the shoes of the President of HAL in 1993.

And, in 2000, Iwata joined Nintendo, as the head of its corporate planning division. He succeeded Hiroshi Yamauchi, who ruled over the Kyoto-based company for nearly 50 years. He transformed it from a traditional and mundane playing-card company to a technological marvel in gaming.

In 2002, Satoru Iwata turned the helmsman at Nintendo. He was the only president not to have the founding Yamauchi family’s lineage, and the only the company’s fourth president since its founding in 1889. This shows the technical brilliance and strategic acumen this man had brought to table.

A few years later, after taking the top slot at Nintendo, Iwata led the company to huge success with the Nintendo DS and Wii consoles which also reflected in the balance sheets. Iwata also oversaw the development of the the Wii, the GameCube, the DS, and the Wii U.


Through his prolific “Iwata Asks” interviews, Satoru Iwata’s passion for games was felt most strongly in public, where he picked the brains of Nintendo’s developers in ways that only he could, eliciting fascinating details about Nintendo’s creative process.

The sudden loss of such a well-liked, talented creator, passionate advocate and great businessman with strong vision will be sorely felt in the videogame industry.

May his soul rest in peace..

Preeti Panna Mishra

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