Following the announcement of the death of Nintendo’s President and CEO Satoru Iwata last night, there has been a massive outpouring of grief and mourning from the gaming community– players and industry professionals alike. Iwata was truly a man who exemplified what Nintendo is, and everything that it stands for the the extent that it can be said, without hyperbole, that Iwata was Nintendo, and Nintendo Iwata.
Which makes the question about who is to lead Nintendo now so scary- these are turbulent times for Nintendo, and a strong leader with a cohesive vision is needed, someone like Iwata, who also understands the intangibles of Nintendo, rather than just looking at business problems. The trouble is, not many such people exist.
One candidate is Shigeru Miyamoto, the inimitable developer at Nintendo, who was the driving force behind so many of the company’s franchises, from Mario and Zelda, to F-Zero and Star Fox. The Wall Street Journal reports that Miyamoto may be next in line to lead Nintendo (he is already jointly presiding over the company in the interim, until a successor is properly announced).
Miyamoto, of course, has not commented on any such rumors and speculation- it would be too soon. That said, he did comment on the passing of his friend and colleague, Satoru Iwata.
“I am surprised at this sudden news and overcome with sadness,” Mr. Miyamoto said in a statement issued through the company on Monday. “The entire development team at Nintendo will remain committed to our development policy which Mr. Iwata and we have been constructing together and to yield the development results which Mr. Iwata would appreciate.”
It tells us a lot about just how strong and effective a leader Iwata was, that even after his death, the company is committed to largely following the roadmap he set for them.
Rest in peace, Mr. Iwata. There will be no one like you again.