Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has died at age 55

Nintendo has sadly confirmed that Iwata-san passed away on July 11, 2015

"Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth," the company said in an official announcement today. Iwata-san had been battling illness for some time now. Last year he skipped E3, as doctors recommended he not travel overseas and he then had surgey for the aformentioned bile duct growth. While Iwata publicly acknowledged that his illness could be difficult to treat, certainly did not expect to be reporting this news at this time and we're incredibly saddened by it.

Iwata was a champion for Nintendo, introducing the "blue ocean" strategy and overseeing two incredibly successful platforms in the Wii and DS, which not only changed Nintendo but had a drastic impact on the industry. He became Nintendo's fourth CEO, succeeding Hiroshi Yamauchi as president in 2002 and he was named CEO of Nintendo of America in 2013. Prior to that, Iwata was a top programmer at HAL Laboratory, which is primarily known for popular franchises like Kirby and Super Smash Bros.

While Iwata in more recent years sometimes clashed with shareholders who wanted to see better performance from the Wii U, he admirably made himself more open to communication, starting up Iwata Asks Q&As and introducing the Nintendo Direct videos, which ultimately gave Nintendo a more direct line of communication with its fans as well.

Iwata may have been the first president for Nintendo not related to the Yamauchi family, but he undoubtedy understood the essence of Nintendo's approach, while simultaneously not showing fear of change. Time will tell, but his willingness to enter the mobile gaming sphere in partnership with DeNA could prove to be one of his smartest moves and could be a lasting legacy, along with the monumentally successful Wii of course.

Nintendo's two remaining top executives are Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto. It's unclear at this time who will be taking over as president for Iwata.

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Latest comments (10)

Evan Barnett Social Advisor, EA4 years ago
Was sad to hear about this today - you did some amazing things, Mr. Iwata, and you will be missed. Here's hoping your legacy at Nintendo thrives.
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Justin Shuard J - E translator 4 years ago
A gamer exec in an industry sorely in need of more like him. RIP, Mr. Iwata you will be missed :(
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Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop4 years ago
Awful news to wake up to. 55 is no age for anyone to die, so it doubles down on that sadness that someone who "got" games, and creativity in a business, so completely has passed. A legend.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Anthony Gowland on 13th July 2015 7:46am

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Show all comments (10)
Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve4 years ago
Really sad to hear this, I hadn't heard that he was ill so I was quite shocked to read it. I had a lot of respect for him and the way he conducted himself, notable things like talking huge pay cuts when Nintendo wasn't performing and his honesty/transparency. He guided Nintendo through a tough and evolving market and achieved record success, including bringing huge new audiences to gaming. He will certainly have a great legacy left behind and will be missed greatly.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago
Damn... He seemed like a genuinely nice guy, and led Nintendo down some interesting routes (and that meant as a compliment, not a euphemism).
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Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange4 years ago
Just yesterday I was reminiscing about the Dreamcast. The futile but noble attempt of SEGA President Isao Okawa to give up $900 Million from his fortune to save the company from bankruptcy, and how the real SEGA died with him. Now came a very shocking and heartbreaking news that Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has passed away. I'm still in disbelief that this is just a bad joke, but alas it's not. Iwata has been such a great inspiration of what a good leader is. He has showed great passion and dedication in creating games. He's opened up what goes behind Nintendo development via "Iwata Asks". He'll be truly missed, Nintendo Directs will never be the same. Rest in peace Iwata-San.
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Nick Parker Consultant 4 years ago
Shocking news. A noble and honourable CEO who fortunately experienced more highs than lows at Nintendo and did so with grace and dignity.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nick Parker on 13th July 2015 9:48am

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George Kotsiofides Game Designer 4 years ago
Incredibly sad news :(
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We pass on our heart felt sadness to family and friends and wish them strength at this difficult time. Our hope that peace comes to those associated with him, and that a time of sadness passes soon for the company.
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Nelsun Rivera Mixed Media 4 years ago
I just can't seem to stop using this quote today.

"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." Satoru Iwata-San

Rest in Peace my friend.
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