Satoru Iwata is a familiar name to most gamers. He was the president and CEO of Nintendo, captaining the company since 2002. Under his guidance, Nintendo captured the casual market of gamers with the Wii system and saw a low point with the release of the Wii U. Mr. Iwata has long been one of the public faces of the company, delivering Nintendo’s numerous “Nintendo Direct” digital events and videos. Unfortunately, Mr. Iwata was unable to attend this year’s E3 due to medical complications. Today, more tragic news have been announced. Mr. Satoru Iwata, aged 55, passed away on July 11, 2015.
Mr. Iwata is as well known and respected as other Nintendo giants like Reggie Fils-Aime and Shigeru Miyamoto. The loss of Mr. Iwata comes as a surprise for many, as the severity of his health issues were not widely known. Nintendo remains a name deeply entrenched in the childhoods and memories of an entire generation. Even before his work as the head of Nintendo, Mr. Iwata worked as a freelance programmer for HAL Laboratory, the developer behind classics such as Mother (known as Earthbound in the West), Kirby, and Super Smash Bros. Under Mr. Iwata, Nintendo was busy refocusing its efforts in the home, hinting at a new gaming platform known as the “NX,” as well as engaging in partnerships to bring their titles to the mobile arena.
His death comes at a time of change at Nintendo. The company faces numerous challenges in a rapidly changing industry, an industry many might say they’ve been slow to adapt to. However, Nintendo’s greatest challenge may be carrying on without Mr. Iwata, or perhaps keeping him in their hearts.