RIP Satoru Iwata


It’s rare that entire fan communities mourn the death of a company’s CEO. In movies and TV we spend so much time praising the creative figures as the people in the boardroom are, the majority of the time, most interested in profit margins. In gaming the praise will go towards the developers, programmers and the company itself, although the company is not often identified with a face. However, there are some instances where a person can be both a business figure and a creative. One such was Satoru Iwata, and today UTF and gamers all over the world mourn his passing.

Iwata was the President and CEO of Nintendo, the company which has produced some of your favourite childhood games – Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, as well as best-selling consoles like the Nintendo DS and the Wii. I’ve met a lot of gamers in my life and I have yet to meet one who did not adore the DS and/or the Wii – they were Satoru Iwata’s ideas.

Nintendo recently confirmed that he passed away of bile duct cancer on Saturday, having led the company since 2002. This is incredibly tragic news not only for the core gaming community, but the wider audiences who enjoy playing video games. It was Iwata’s innovation that led to the creation of the Nintendo DS, the Wii and their counterparts after he realised that gaming was becoming “too exclusive”. I certainly wouldn’t have had any experience with gaming if not for the man. Growing up I was never fascinated with the world of video games and franchises such as Halo and Call of Duty seemed too complex for a guy who had never really played any video games before. The Nintendo consoles were appealing because they were an easy way to get into gaming; they are easy to use and not too expensive, and I owe hours of fun and joy to those consoles and that man.

“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.”

I suppose it really speaks for itself, when somebody who doesn’t own a Playstation 4 or an Xbox One or consider themselves a gamer whatsoever is saddened by his passing. How many executives can you name that are truly passionate about their industry, be it games or another, and aren’t just in it for the money? It’s difficult. However, Satoru Iwata was most certainly one of them. You need only do a brief Google search to find a multitude of quotes and stories from the man which illustrate that he truly was one of a kind, a man who understood the gaming industry and wanted it to succeed because he loved it. It’s as simple as that.

These words are bandied around so often that they tend to lose all meaning, but in this instance they are true – we shall never see his like again.

Godspeed, Satoru.


Credit goes to Adventurers of Eagle Land for some great artwork.