I am certain that my regular readers have already read, seen, or heard this news today, but Engaged Family Gaming would be a shadow of what it is if it weren’t for Nintendo. So… here it is.
Mr. Satoru Iwata, or Iwata-san as my son calls him, has passed away after a battle with cancer at the age of 55. He was the President and CEO of Nintendo at the time of his passing and was only the 4th President that Nintendo has had in its long history.
He came into his position just as the Nintendo GameCube was about the launch and is known for making innovation the hallmark of Nintendo hardware design. He is the man credited with the launch of both the Nintendo DS family of handheld consoles and the Nintendo Wii and Wii U.
There it is. The lede may be a bit buried, but it is there. Iwata-san is gone and we will miss him more than we know. He was a steady rock that helped Nintendo stay the course during their times of trouble (like the last few years) and even their times of success.
There have been countless tributes to the man flooding the internet today as fans and gaming luminaries alike come to grips with a loss that they did not expect. Courtney Holmes over at Pixelkin.org does a great job of highlighting some of them. If you knew of the man and need something to help with the grieving process go ahead and follow that link and read up.
One quote seems to be flying all about the internet today that I think helps to encapsulate who he was and why he was important to the gaming world.
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, speaking at the Game Developers Conference in 2005
In short? He got it. He knew that games were meant for one thing: to bring joy. He tasked his developers with creating games that did just that.
While Sony and Microsoft where reliving the console wars of the 90s and pushing for greater hardware power he enacted the “Blue Ocean” philosophy at Nintendo and chose not to help color the oceans red with the blood of their enemies. They did their own thing and the gaming world is better and more diverse because of it.
We may not know who will take Nintendo’s reigns, but we know that they will have huge shoes to fill. Our hearts go out to everyone at Nintendo and to Iwata-san’s friends and family.