BrandArena: Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata dies of cancer

Monday 13 July 2015

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata dies of cancer

Nintendo's Chief Executive Officer, Satoru Iwata died of cancer on Saturday, months after he led the Japanese video-game maker’s belated entry into mobile gaming following years of declining sales. He was 55.

The announcement on Monday by the company comes at a critical time for the company which is betting that its new smartphone tie-up with online game maker DeNA will help make up for declining console sales.

Iwata long resisted investors’ calls to move into mobile games for fear of cannibalising Nintendo’s traditional console base. He announced the move in March as stiff competition from console rivals and mobile games continued to drag on sales.

The company did not announce a replacement but Genyo Takeda, senior managing director and one of the lead developers of Nintendo’s Wii console, will lead the committee for Iwata’s funeral - a sign he could be taking on the leadership role.

“They say it’s not yet decided who the next CEO will be, so there’s a slight uncertainty,” Japan Asia Securities deputy general manager Mitsuo Shimizu said. “This comes just as we saw a glimmer of hope for the company.”

Iwata’s main legacy was broadening the appeal of video games with the bestselling Wii, which included fitness titles and fantasy battles. Gaming fans took to Twitter to mourn his death, and even rival Sony Corp’s PlayStation account said: “Thank you for everything, Mr. Iwata.”

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