Nintendo’s President, Satoru Iwata passed away 2 days ago due to a bile duct growth according to a press release from the company. Satoru Iwata was the fourth President of the company who had risen through the ranks in the company after joining Nintendo in the year 2000 and subsequently became the president of the company in 2002. He had true passion for game developing & he was quoted as saying “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.”
Nintendo is a company that is synonymous with gaming. 9 of the top 20 best selling gaming consoles were made by Nintendo. They dominated the 80s and early 90s in the gaming arena although later on Sony seriously started eating into their niche market thanks to the release of the PlayStation (1994) and the PlayStation 2 (2000). However, they developed classic games like Mario Kart & Donkey Kong and consoles like the Game & Watch, Game Boy, Nintendo 64, Gamecube, Nintendo Wii, DS, 3DS and Wii U. The last 3 consoles were credited to the late Satoru Iwata.
His stint as the President was during one of the most successful periods for the company where its products raked in millions of sales. But, it was not all roses. During the early start of the tenure, some of the console sales like the Gamecube were not doing as well as the competition (Xbox and PlayStation 2) and he decided to change this by releasing these consoles during his 13 year tenure:
He pushed for the development of the Nintendo DS, which was a dual screen console that was incredibly popular. It was released in 2004 and a combined sales of 154 million units, which is in fact behind the 2nd bestselling console after the Sony PlayStation 2 (155 million).
In 2006, the company announced the other successful gaming console, the Wii. This console was unique in that it had a Wii Remote controller which was a gesture detecting device which made playing some games like tennis or boxing more immersive than using the traditional game-pads of its competitors (PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360). Just like the Nintendo DS, it sold an impressive 101 million consoles.
2011 saw the release of the Nintendo 3DS, the successor of the hugely popular Nintendo DS. It was an advancement to the dual screen DS where it could display actual stereoscopic 3D content without the need for 3D classes. It didn’t sell as well as the DS (52 million vs 154 million) and this was due to the rise of smartphone gaming and ended up having a price cut.
In 2012, Nintendo released the Wii U, which you guessed it, was the successor to the popular Wii. It had everything going for it, it was legitimately powerful, backwards compatibility with the existing Wii games and had a new game-pad which had a second screen. But Satoru Iwata’s new product was launched at a time where it was a year prior to the more powerful PS4 & Xbox One and the increasing use of smartphones for playing both simple 2D games and more intense 3D games. As of May this year, it has sold slightly less than 10 million consoles which is a fraction of the other preceding Nintendo consoles.
What’s next for Nintendo? Well they announced recently they will start developing their first smartphone game by the end on this year and approximately five titles by the end of March 2017. They have also have an alliance with another Japanese company that will bring an “integrated membership service” which links “smart devices and their dedicated game systems”. We’ll wait to see how that turns up in the future.