06/12/59 – 11/07/15
“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.
In the early hours of this morning, Nintendo Co. Ltd issued a brief statement announcing the death of the company’s President and CEO Satoru Iwata, who passed away as a result of a bile duct growth at the age of 55. Satoru Iwata previously underwent surgery relating to the condition last year, before his slimmer frame seen following his reappearance in a subsequent Nintendo Direct prompted enough concern from fans to warrant an official statement from the company’s Twitter.
Satoru Iwata’s interest in electronic games started early in his life, with him producing electronic games during his high school years before enrolling in the Tokyo Institute of Technology as a Computer Science major. After working for HAL Laboratory in a freelance capacity during his studies, he joined the company in a Full Time capacity upon his graduation, going on to help develop Balloon Fight!, EarthBound and the Kirby series. In 1993, he was promoted to company president and in 2014, he was appointed CEO of Nintendo of America.
At the turn of the century, he joined Nintendo as the head of its corporate planning division before being named President in 2002 following Hiroshi Yamauchi’s retirement, making him the first Nintendo Co. Ltd. President to have no relation to company founder Fusajiro Yamauchi.
Satoru Iwata will be fondly remembered as a passionate leader who joyfully flew the Nintendo flag during happier times and during rainier days, chose to halve his own salary out of compassion for his company and colleagues.