Hiroshi Yamauchi, the third president of Nintendo and its second-largest shareholder, has passed away at 85, while being confined at a Kyoto hospital for pneumonia. Mr. Yamauchi transformed Nintendo from a company that made trading cards into the multinational corporation that arguably saved the video game industry.
When Mr. Yamauchi, grandson of Nintendo founder Fusajiro Yamauchi, became president of the company in 1949, it was a business that produced Hanafuda cards. The younger Yamauchi diversified the company, venturing into transportation, hospitality, food, and toys, which eventually led to the video games that we know and love today. Mr. Yamauchi was responsible for Nintendo from its earliest days as an arcade cabinet maker, to Donkey Kong, and the Family Computer, up to the Game Boy Advance and GameCube.
Although he was succeeded by Satoru Iwata in 2002, Mr. Yamauchi remained on the board of directors until 2005, until stepping down in 2008.