Satoru Iwata, Nintendo CEO dies at 55 and takes a piece of soul from the gaming community with him. The company legend was announced to have passed on last week on July 11th due to cancer found in his bile duct after he underwent surgery for removal of the tumor and several complications.
Compared to tech magnates, such as Steve Jobs, Satoru Iwata was also considered an ambitious visionary in the industry, mapping out plans for the next decade that, sadly, he will not be there to see to completion. Touching tributes and soulful pieces of art have been a way for the gaming community to express their sympathy and condolences for the creative CEO who will still cling to pieces of our childhood through videogames.
Inspirational quotes from the man himself have resurfaced over the internet, reminding us why he was considered the risk-taker who still kept the company afloat among titans like Sony and Microsoft.
Satoru Iwata often declared himself a gamer at heart, even if his business card was labeled with the title of president, and spoke out for Nintendo’s inability to keep up with its competitors. The reason was that Nintendo was never meant to rival against them.
It was meant to reach the non-gaming community and change the stubborn minds of those dismissing videogames as ‘too complicated’, to open minds to new ways of entertainment. As stated by the CEO himself, the company was looking to improve the “quality of life”.
He oversaw the company’s successes such as the Wii and hand-held DS, as well as major disappointments as Wii U, that did poorly when compared to last-generation platforms Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The latter formed questions as to how Nintendo would recover from the loss, so Iwata found a way: he cut his own salary by 50%.
Passion, innovation and creativity were the qualities often attributed to Nintendo’s CEO, who often pledged for the soul and story of every game created, and much less on the graphics and life-like virtual reality of other gaming platforms. He stated that gaming, at its core, should be first, most and always about a well-told story and engaging characters.
The task has proved difficult in the past couple of years where technological advancement tugged less on the heartstrings of gamers and focused more on a feast for the eyes. However, the easy way was never one for Iwata, who remained determined in keeping Nintendo on a different path.
The original Nintendo characters have been kept joyful and colorful, a stark contrast to the usual dark and brooding protagonists of today’s videogames. Regardless of taste for either, or success, Iwata has remained admired for his clear target and wish to bring more gamers into the community, who would not consider learning the more difficult patterns of console controllers.
As said by the creative genius himself, “Above all, video games are meant to just be one thing: Fun for everyone.”. And he had kept to his path until the very end.
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