We are deeply saddened to report that Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has passed away at the age of 55 due to a bile duct growth.
Iwata underwent surgery to remove the growth last June and as a result missed that year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. He appeared to be recovering well following the operation and had returned to his daily responsibilities at the company, which makes today’s news all the more devastating.
Iwata’s contribution to the gaming industry is immeasurable. Before being appointed as Nintendo president back in 2002 (the first person outside the Yamauchi family to helm the company), he worked in second-party studio HAL Laboratory as a programmer and had a hand in some of Nintendo’s notable titles, including (but certainly not limited to) Balloon Fight, EarthBound, the Kirby series, and the original Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 64. He also presided over the company during some of its most profitable years, overseeing the launch of both the Nintendo DS and Wii consoles, and was a staunch defender of the value of dedicated video game platforms in the face of “freemium” mobile gaming. More than anything, however, he will be remembered as the personable face of Nintendo thanks to his Iwata Asks interviews and Nintendo Direct presentations, which gave fans the world over a very intimate and insightful look at not only the company’s upcoming titles, but the people who worked on them. From all of us at Nintendojo, our deepest condolences to the Iwata family and heartfelt thanks to one of the most remarkable men to have ever worked in the industry.