Nintendo Co., Ltd (ADR) NTDOY 1.39% President Satoru Iwata passed away last weekend from bile duct cancer. Numerous individuals, including Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime, have taken a moment to reflect on the life of one of the video game industry’s most prominent figures.
“It’s a very sad day,” Activision Blizzard, Inc. ATVI 0.55% CEO Bobby Kotick said in a statement. “Mr. Iwata was a great visionary championing products like the Wii and the Nintendo DS. He changed entertainment forever. I consider myself lucky to have called him a good friend for over two decades. All of us at Activision Blizzard send his wife and children and the entire Nintendo family our most sincere condolences.”
Jason Abrams, an account manager at North 6th Agency, Inc., said that Iwata’s passing “represents a big loss to the tech and video game industries.”
“As an adult, you realize that it’s especially sad considering how unexpected it was,” Abrams told Benzinga. “He’s leaving a family behind and Nintendo has lost an innovative leader. The kid in me, who still plays his 8-bit NES and Nintendo 64, is crushed because Iwata helped play a role in so many games I still play and love.”
Iwata’s ‘Commitment And Confidence’ Really ‘Inspired Nintendo Fans’
Christine Arrington, senior games analyst at IHS Inc. IHS 0.48%, was saddened by the news like everyone else.
“With such a long and eventful history it is hard to be brief,” Arrington told Benzinga. “Some of Mr. Iwata’s accomplishments that stand out are his commitment to expanding gaming beyond the core, traditional gamer and his evolution to being open to partnerships outside of Nintendo to modernize and bring Nintendo content to an even broader audience.”
Arrington said the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii were consoles that expanded access to and interest in gaming.
“The combination of the Wii Nunchuks and Wii Sports connected with people, and really was one of the first experiences to help expand console gaming beyond the core gamer,” she added. “Additionally, remaining true to Nintendo’s commitment to games that are fun for everyone really set Nintendo apart from Microsoft and Sony. He let them battle it out to be the biggest FPS, RPG console and continued to grow Nintendo’s following of its favorite characters — Mario, Pokemon, Yoshi, etc. — with this expanded group of consumers who tried the DS series and the Wii. His commitment and confidence in the Nintendo value and market position really inspired Nintendo fans.”
Arrington also praised Iwata’s work toward expanding the company’s reach by forming new partnerships.
“The DeNA partnership and the Amiibos (Donkey Kong and Bowser) that work in the Skylanders Supercharger environment communicated that Mr. Iwata was opening up Nintendo to bringing that IP outside of the Nintendo hardware universe,” she continued. “If those initiatives can be supported and nurtured after this tremendous loss, these will be added to his list of accomplishments.
‘Face Of Modern Nintendo’
Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group, referred to Iwata as the “face of modern Nintendo” and said he brought the company “back from the brink” in the 2000s.
“Very well regarded and technically very competent, he was the as devoted to Nintendo as the firm was devoted to him,” Enderle told Benzinga. “We don’t see people of his caliber very often and he will be sorely missed by his company and the gamers who remain tightly tied to the Nintendo brand and gaming systems.”