Απεβίωσε ο Satoru Iwata της Nintendo

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Απεβίωσε ο Satoru Iwata της Nintendo

Γράφει ο/η Μανώλης Βαρούχας
Κατηγορία Παιχνίδια

Άσχημα νέα δυστυχώς για το τέταρτο αφεντικό στην ιστορία της Nintendo. Ο Satoru Iwata απεβίωσε προχτές 11 Ιουλίου 2015 μετά από άνιση μάχη με τον καρκίνο.

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Early life

Iwata was born on December 6, 1959 and raised in Sapporo, Japan; his father was a municipal mayor. He expressed interest in the creation of video games early on, and began producing electronic games at his home during his high school years. The several simple number games Iwata produced made use of an electronic calculator he shared with his schoolmates. Following high school, Iwata was admitted to the Tokyo Institute of Technology, where he majored in computer science. While attending the school he did freelance work as a programmer for HAL Laboratory, Inc., a game developer that often collaborated closely with Nintendo.

Career

HAL Laboratory

After graduating from university, Iwata joined HAL Laboratory in a full-time capacity. He became the company's coordinator of software production in 1983. Some of the video games he worked on were Balloon Fight, EarthBound, and the Kirby games. With the company on the verge of bankrupcy, Iwata was promoted to president of HAL in 1993 and helped to turn the company around and stablize its finances. Iwata assisted in the founding of Creatures Inc., which was established in 1995 by Tsunekazu Ishihara. Although not part of Nintendo at the time, Iwata assisted in the development of Pokémon Gold and Silver, which were released for the Game Boy Color in November 1999. Simultaneously, he aided in the programming of Pokémon Stadium for the Nintendo 64 by reading the original coding in Pokémon Red and Green and reworking it for the new game. Iwata also created a set of compression tools utilized in Gold and Silver.

Nintendo

"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 in his keynote speech at GDC 2005

In 2000, Iwata took a position at Nintendo as the head of its corporate planning division. When Hiroshi Yamauchi, the company's president since 1949, retired on May 31, 2002, Iwata succeeded as Nintendo's fourth president with Yamauchi's blessing, and Yamauchi would advise Iwata over the next few years. He was the first Nintendo president who was unrelated to the Yamauchi family through blood or marriage. Iwata continued to help out at HAL as a consultant.

At the time of Iwata's promotion, Nintendo was not performing as well as other console makers, with its latest release the GameCube performing poorly compared to competitors. Iwata had stated in 2006 that he felt that the gaming industry was becoming too exclusive, and wanted to develop hardware and games that would be appealing to all players. Under his charge at Nintendo, he helped to lead a revitalization of their handheld system, transitioning from the Game Boy to the Nintendo DS with a unique form factor that allowed for more novel games to be played on it. He also pushed on the development of the Wii platform which introduced the use of motion control-based video games. Both units proved highly successful to the company, with the release of the Wii in 2006 helping to nearly double the stock price of Nintendo. Iwata's former experience as a programmer, a rarity for technology CEOs, was said to help contribute towards his leadership of the company. Due to his success, Barron's included Iwata on their list of the 30 top CEOs worldwide from 2007 to 2009.

He commented on Nintendo games in his section of Nintendo's Wii website, Iwata Asks. Iwata also worked on The Legend of Zelda, Mario, and the Animal Crossing series of games. He also played a cameo in WarioWare: Smooth Moves, where he is referred to as "Shop Manager Iwata". In June 2013, he also took the role of Nintendo of America's CEO. As one of his first changes as CEO of Nintendo of America, Iwata decided that they wouldn't hold large press conferences at E3, and instead have several smaller events, each aimed at a certain demographic. In 2015, Iwata put part of Nintendo's focus on the growing mobile game market, creating a partnership with mobile provider DeNA to publisher titles, as traditional hardware console sales began to falter. Iwata stated he would take half his salary to help Nintendo's poor finances and to better compete against Microsoft and Sony Computer Entertainment.

Illness and death

In 2014, Nintendo announced that Iwata would not be present at E3 2014 due to medical-related reasons. It was later revealed that he was undergoing surgery for a tumor in his bile duct. On July 12, 2015, Nintendo announced that Iwata died at the age of 55 due to complications with a bile duct growth on July 11, 2015. He was survived by his wife Kayoko. Funeral services are planned to be held on July 17.

Flags at Nintendo's headquarters were lowered to half-staff. Members across the gaming industry and fans alike expressed their sadness on social media over Iwata's passing and gratitude for his accomplishments. Shuhei Yoshida, president of SCE Worldwide Studios, stated "He has given a great contribution to the development of the gaming industry. I will pray for Iwata's soul." Composer and director Junichi Masuda, most known for his work with the Pokémon games, tweeted "He was a man who understood Pokémon, and a great leader. When I visited the other day, he was well. I will pray for his soul from the bottom of my heart."