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Iwata becomes CEO of Nintendo of America

Iwata becomes CEO of Nintendo of America

Wed 24 Apr 2013 9:32am GMT / 5:32am EDT / 2:32am PDT
PeoplePublishing

Reggie Fils-Aime to report directly to global president

Nintendo has announced that global president Satoru Iwata is taking on the additional position of Nintendo of America CEO.

Current US president and chief operating officer Reggie Fils-Aime will report directly to Iwata.

The management shuffle comes following disappointing full-year profits, in which Nintendo failed to hit Wii U and 3DS sales targets.

Iwata will take over from Tatsumi Kimishima, who will be taking on a new role of general manager of Nintendo Japan. Four directors of Nintendo are also due to retire by the end of June.

21 Comments

Daniel Hughes
Studying PhD Literary Modernism

436 496 1.1
Popular Comment
Finally, an executive reshuffle. If you compare Reggie's record with that of Howard Lincoln before him, you see how Nintendo's American operations have diminished in recent years. A refusal to localise games versus Nintendo of Europe's ever more timely and varied localisations, and under-investment in North American development support have hampered Nintendo's Western operations. Lincoln was responsible for the acquisition of both Rare and Retro Studios, as well as publishing and content deals with Lucas Arts, Factor 5, Silicon Knights, Midway and Acclaim during the N64 and GC era. Not enough support to turn those systems around, but the kind of relationships Nintendo needed to continue to develop, which have instead gone to rot.

Compare that with Iwata's track record in Japan, and you see why this could be a very good thing. The reshuffle of internal development into the EAD structure has seen internal development double in size from four studios to eight in ten years, with operations across Kyoto and Tokyo. First party studios like Monolith Soft, NdCube and Sora Ltd have been acquired or established. Nintendo's network of second party studios in Japan is bigger than its ever been--the usual suspects like Game Freak and Camelot stick around, but have been joined by Grezzo, Ganbarion, Mistwalker, Syn Sophia, Alpha Dream and more. Iwata has reversed the Japanese losses of the end of Yamauchi's tenure and re-established, or established, working relationships with Capcom, Sega, Namco Bandai, Tecmo, Konami, Square Enix and Level 5.

While Iwata obviously won't produce miracles over night or in the short term, he could be very good for Nintendo's Western development support. There's no one else at Nintendo with his combined corporate, administration, development and design experience, and I'm glad that rather than disappearing as some keyboard warriors are demanding, Iwata is stepping up to the plate and taking on the challenges Nintendo face.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Daniel Hughes on 24th April 2013 12:04pm

Posted:A year ago

#1

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,232 2,161 1.0
Daniel, Howard Lincoln was the Chairman of NOA whereas Reggie is president and COO. Lincoln's counterpart would be Tatsumi Kimishima.

Posted:A year ago

#2
So Reggie was the previous CEO? If so, this is a demotion and a vote of no-confidence in him? Interesting times.

Nintendo do seem to have been thriving in Japan recently, and its the US where things have really fallen down. Partnerships with Western companies does seem imperative.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,232 2,161 1.0
Michael, Reggie was never CEO. He's the COO.

Posted:A year ago

#4

Daniel Hughes
Studying PhD Literary Modernism

436 496 1.1
@ Jim

That's true, actually, something I overlooked; but Lincoln took a much more pro-active approach than either Reggie or Tatsumi Kimishima. My point is that Lincoln's success at NoA, and the more developer friendly approach at NoA hasn't been repeated by the current management. I don't think Tatsumi Kimishima is really being demoted here if he's taking a senior position in Japan; he'll be taking his knowledge of the American market back to Nintendo HQ in Kyoto. Reggie stays in place, sure, but now he's answering directly to Iwata. I think that's an important shift and a recognition that both Reggie and Tatsumi Kimishima haven't done enough over the last few years at Nintendo of America. It's also a sign Iwata is taking even more personal responsibility for Nintendo's operations.

Posted:A year ago

#5

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,232 2,161 1.0
I agree. I'm excited by these changes. The cultural and market knowledge being transferred can only be beneficial. And with Iwata's recent work to gain the support of more 3rd parties in Japan, this may be what they need to get more western 3rd party support.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Private
Industry

1,176 182 0.2
Not sure if Iwata is the right person for that. How business is done in Japan is very different to how its done in the US.

Thats simply a reflection if cultural.differences not in Iwatas skills.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 24th April 2013 3:05pm

Posted:A year ago

#7

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,484 1,254 0.8
But then you read how Minoru Arakawa built up NoA, and the cultural differences seem to matter less. :)

Posted:A year ago

#8

Private
Industry

1,176 182 0.2
That was a very different time after the crash and when Nintendo was the king. NES and SNES where the consoles you wanted to be when making games with only Sega providing some form of competition.

The Wii ( even with high sales) and Wii U still face the same issue that Nintendo has since the GameCube. A huge lack of third party games. In the last 2 months a huge amount of great games got released like Tomb Raider or Bioshock and none of the came out on the Wii U. The only good game for it in the last 3 months was Lego Undercover. I think they would be better of with a US or EU person handling NOA and the talks with western companies to get more support.

Posted:A year ago

#9

David Radd
Senior Editor

358 78 0.2
I think they would be better of with a US or EU person handling NOA and the talks with western companies to get more support.
I have nothing over the issue than "This."

It seems pretty clear that Iwata's all in for this year. I'll bet it will make or break him as the head boss of Nintendo.

Posted:A year ago

#10
But then you read how Minoru Arakawa built up NoA, and the cultural differences seem to matter less. :)
But then you realize their respective education backgrounds and business history are quite different, not to mention that the Wii U is not doing so hot in Japan either

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Diego Garcia on 24th April 2013 5:27pm

Posted:A year ago

#11

John Arnold
Partner

28 44 1.6
Not sure if Iwata is the right person for that. How business is done in Japan is very different to how its done in the US
He might know western marketing better than you think, the only problem I can really see is how he'll attract the third party companies commercially, that's the thing that really seperates Japan from the rest of the world; it is their differentiated tastes.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Arnold on 24th April 2013 7:07pm

Posted:A year ago

#12

Paul Jace
Merchandiser

868 1,273 1.5
I don't know if this is a good move or not. It will more than likely hurt Iwata than anything else, espeically if the Wii U continues to under sell here in the US. And with two new competing next gen systems set to release later this year he has a long hard road ahead of him. One thing he should definitely start focusing on right away is getting more games released ahead of the busy holiday season.

Posted:A year ago

#13

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
I like Mr. Iwata, I wish him great success. I think most people are waiting to see what happens. But Im confident that when the games start rolling out sales will increase.

Posted:A year ago

#14

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,232 2,161 1.0
I like the fact he is putting it all on his shoulders. He's already proven he'll do whatever it takes. He voluntarily took a massive pay cut not too long ago due to under-performance.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Yiannis Koumoutzelis
Founder & Creative Director

358 187 0.5
Iwata is a man of honour and a warrior. A true business Samurai! He will do just great, I'm sure of it! He means more to Nintendo than Shigeru right now.

Posted:A year ago

#16

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

799 996 1.2
The three different Nintendo's have been fucking things up between them for a very long time. It''s often felt to me at times that they compete to the point of one trying to screw each other over. We're not working with them again whilst one company can give us a greenlight so we waste dev time, only to get scuppered by other nintendo.

They should merge into one company as if they were, you know, one company.

Posted:A year ago

#17

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,232 2,161 1.0
Paul, I thought Nintendo did away with concept approval for the eShop?

Posted:A year ago

#18

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

799 996 1.2
This was a while back now, maybe they've finally fixed it. It was pretty ridiculous really, amost as bad as Sony.

Really glad this stuff isn't the only route to market now!

Posted:A year ago

#19

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,232 2,161 1.0
Paul, here are a few changes made since they've transitioned to the Nintendo Network and the eShop. Might be worth looking into them again.

- no concept approval process for eShop
- no mandate to use motion controls or GamePad features
- Nintendo doesn't require platform exclusivity
- interested devs can visit a special Wii U developers page and fill out a small questionnaire to work towards acquiring a license
- Nintendo will provide the Unity Pro 4 engine at no additional cost
- you need business entity status, which costs less than $200 in the US
- no hidden fees for devs on the eShop
- no minimum sales threshold
- no patch, update, DLC fees
- no physical business address required
- set your own price and sales

Posted:A year ago

#20

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

799 996 1.2
I didn't know that, thanks Jim. I saw the odd announcement here and there but just assumed they were blowing smoke tbh, given what a draconian anti-developer place they started from.

Looks like they've actually learned something though, fair play.

Posted:A year ago

#21

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