Satoru Iwata: 1959 - 2015

by Donald Theriault - July 12, 2015, 4:55 pm PDT
Total comments: 74 Source: Nintendo

''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 president Satoru Iwata has passed away at the age of 55.

Nintendo Company Limited announced the passing in a release on their investor website (PDF link). The cause of death is a bile duct growth, which Iwata took an extended leave of absence from his duties in 2014 to attempt to resolve.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Iwata family and to the Nintendo family in this difficult time. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

UPDATE 9:45pm ET: The Financial Times is reporting that the president's position will not be filled for now, and Nintendo will be placed under the caretaker leadership of Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda.

Talkback

broodwarsJuly 12, 2015

:Q Holy shit. We knew the guy was having health problems, but he never let on that those problems were THIS bad. R.I.P., man.

WindyManSteven Rodriguez, Staff AlumnusJuly 12, 2015

Now I will never understand. :(


But seriously, this is upsetting and shocking. Never would have figured his health issues were terminal. Damn.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJuly 12, 2015

:(

DanteZXJuly 12, 2015

WAIT WHAT!?!?! I had to re-read the article just for it to even register in my brain. This is truly a sad day in gaming history. My condolences go out to the iwata family.

NeoStar9XJuly 12, 2015

Oh wow. :(


Knew he had the surgery for the bile duct growth but though he was okay. Guess not.


RIP. Thoughts are with his family.

perrybJuly 12, 2015

This is deeply saddening.  It's unbelievable.  :(

KeyBillyJuly 12, 2015

This is so sad and unexpected.  He was such a pleasure to watch and he revealed a lot of himself in Iwata Asks.  A very endearing and genuine man that will be missed.

CericJuly 12, 2015

How did this not blow up my Twitter feed?

RIP Iwata.  I traditionally cook food for the family but that would be hard now.
Wow...

SgtFlowersJuly 12, 2015

Quote from: WindyMan

Now I will never understand. :(


But seriously, this is upsetting and shocking. Never would have figured his health issues were terminal. Damn.


Yeah same here, I would have never imagined.

Its crazy to think through that the guy worked dispute of his health and ran a company. Damn Iwata Thank you and rest easy you will be remembered.

yoshi1001July 12, 2015


Very sad to hear this.

On a side note, I wonder if the folks at NoA knew about this as far back as E3. Might explain things a bit.

RedBlueJuly 12, 2015

Sadness

AqueousJuly 12, 2015

Goodbye Mr. Iwata. I'll miss you.
Going to play a little Balloon Fight before bed.

MrPhishfoodJuly 12, 2015

Shit. I was hoping this was some kind of hoax. I am sad.

AdrockJuly 12, 2015

Out of no where. I removed when he underwent surgery, but I thought he was doing well. Sad news.

AdrockJuly 12, 2015

*remember... Come on, autocorrect.

BrandoggJuly 12, 2015

Wow, that was unexpected! Damn, that sucks.

nickmitchJuly 12, 2015

This is hard to believe, and tough to hear.

He was a great President and gave us a lot of memories.

Evan_BJuly 12, 2015

Oh, Iwata... How truly sad.

Thank you for everything you gave us.

ClexYoshiJuly 12, 2015

this... I read this and my face went pale. particularly because my father suffers from bile duct issues among other things. that's what forced him into early retirement, was that parts of his liver and a bit of tissue around his bile duct has calcified. he has to essentially take a bunch of steroids for the rest of his life because of it.

Satoru Iwata's contributions to video games as a whole shall not be forgotten. although there's stupidly no credits in the game, I'm pretty sure that Revenge of the Gator Pinball on the Gameboy's physics model and sound effects borrow heavily from Rollerball on NES, which Iwata programmed himself. Revenge of the Gator was my first Game Boy game I ever owned.

Triforce HermitJuly 12, 2015

That is sad to hear. May not have liked his approach to games, but he still did a good job.

R.I.P Iwata

OedoJuly 12, 2015

Could not believe it when I saw the headline and still having trouble wrapping my head around it. So sad and even knowing about his recent health problems, still somehow so unexpected.

Dan LaserJuly 12, 2015

Oh no, I thought he was doing better! This is really sad :( RIP Iwata, you will be greatly missed. I loved seeing him in Nintendo Directs and his Iwata Asks segments. I will continue to enjoy your cute games and cute consoles for many years to come.

https://twitter.com/SunnyKeel/status/620386764470005760

lolmonadeJuly 12, 2015

This is nuts…..hit me like a ton of bricks when I saw it on Reddit.  I have to imagine this is at least part of why Nintendo went the route they did with the puppets at E3, although I didn't expect anything especially after seeing the Iwata Asks segments starting back up.  The suddenness of his passing and his young age bring pause especially.






That said, I do wonder where that leaves Nintendo..obviously they'll be able to move forward in the interim, but who could possibly be chosen in his stead?  I assume they'd most likely promote within rather than find an outsider?

motangJuly 12, 2015

Man that really sucks! R.I.P. Iwata-san.  :(

ClexYoshiJuly 12, 2015

Quote from: ClexYoshi

this... I read this and my face went pale. particularly because my father suffers from bile duct issues among other things. that's what forced him into early retirement, was that parts of his liver and a bit of tissue around his bile duct has calcified. he has to essentially take a bunch of steroids for the rest of his life because of it.

Satoru Iwata's contributions to video games as a whole shall not be forgotten. although there's stupidly no credits in the game, I'm pretty sure that Revenge of the Gator Pinball on the Gameboy's physics model and sound effects borrow heavily from Rollerball on NES, which Iwata programmed himself. Revenge of the Gator was my first Game Boy game I ever owned.

Er... produced. producer role. although Iwata had programming prowess, he was a producer on Rollerball. sorry.

Evan_BJuly 12, 2015

I might as well go full out here, I was considering doing it in another thread.

While he may have sent the company down a certain path that not everyone is fond of, this man's dedication to video games and Nintendo's idea of pure fun am entertainment have always been constant and I respect him a great deal for it. Having him appear on my computer screen every two months or so as talk about games and urge us to look forward to the future was a charming, genuine thing, and I'd be lying if I said I'm not going to miss it. He was an accomplished programmer and president, and I am truly sad to see him go.

terrisusJuly 12, 2015

RIP Mr. Iwata

steveyJuly 12, 2015

So sudden.... :'(

kokumakerJuly 12, 2015

My 9-year-old daughter and I both have tears in our eyes as I write this. Such a talented, endearing man; such a lovely spirit. We are shocked, and deeply heartbroken. He leaves some very big shoes to fill.

DasmosJuly 12, 2015

Vale Satoru Iwata

Very sad and seemingly sudden news.

nhainesJuly 12, 2015

It's funny.  I felt like I had a connection with Satoru Iwata, because his Nintendo Directs were quirky but self-aware and his Iwata Asks interviews were incredibly charismatic.  It's stunning to think that he's gone.  I hoped that his health issues had improved with treatment.

It was nice to have a videogame programmer and producer run such a large company as Nintendo.  While I hope the new leadership is able to improve Nintendo's position, I also hope they stay true to the idea of gameplay as ultimate.

TrueNerdJuly 12, 2015

Goddammit.

NinfernoJuly 12, 2015

R.I.P Mr. Iwata, you will be missed.

leahsdadJuly 12, 2015

Wow, this is very, very sad.  Wow.

A very sad day. My prayers go out to his family.

alegoicoeJuly 12, 2015

not the news i was expecting, how crazy, i went for the regular Sunday podcast and i find my self reading this news, very sad indeed.

Luigi DudeJuly 12, 2015

No this can't be real, I thought the surgery was successful last year. :'(

This news already hit hard when I read it but then I went to /v/ and heard Smiles and Tears playing.  The tears just won't stop. :'( :'( :'(

For those that don't know, it's was thanks to Iwata's legendary programming skills that he was able to save Earthbound from being canceled because of its troubled development.  One of the many amazing things he was able to accomplish in his life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwHZwvTdnPI

"I miss you"

broodwarsJuly 12, 2015

You know, Nintendo often gets compared to Disney, and with this recent news there are a disturbing number of parallels (including, if I understand this correctly, both Iwata & Disney dying of throat cancer). May Nintendo finds its "shrewd, ruthless businessman who knew how to bank on nostalgia while still steering towards the future" faster than Disney did. Hopefully, Nintendo doesn't get trapped in "what would Iwata have done?" like Disney nearly went bankrupt saying "what would Walt have done?"

One thing's for sure: we're in for some interesting times ahead. Iwata's left Nintendo to his successor in both the best and worst positions to be going forward, with quite a few forward-looking initiatives in play.

shinyray01July 12, 2015

R.I.P Iwata

Can't believe he's gone. Nintendo Direct will never be the same.

broodwarsJuly 12, 2015

Edit: after having done some research on "bile ducts", just waving off that bit I wrote earlier about Disney & Iwata having similar passings. For some reason, I thought those ducts were located somewhere other than where they were.

In any case, just to reitterate: R.I.P. Iwata. I have a lot of issues with you as a company head, but no one could take issue with your passion for gaming & dedication to your work. Very few company heads would even be remembered as you were, let alone missed.

LucarioJuly 12, 2015

Holy shit!
and I was just making fun of him... :o
R.I.P my fav Game president, R.I.P

Mr. Iwata's health first became a known issue when he couldn't travel to last year's E3. Despite this, he persisted in running Nintendo's day-to-day operations, including standing for reelection as CEO as recently as this month. Mr. Iwata was not a poor man; he - like much of Nintendo's C-Suite - made good money during the boom times. He could have retired to focus on his health, but he decided to continue running Nintendo. It's unclear if this turn was sudden, his standing for reelection as CEO indicates that it probably was, but his health issues were undoubtedly less so.


I've had harsh judgement of some of his decisions over the years, however I've never doubted his love of the industry and the joy he found in making people happy. His dedication, right up until the end, is inspirational.

LucarioJuly 12, 2015

I killed iwata! :'(

Nile Boogie ReturnsJuly 12, 2015



I understand!

EnnerJuly 12, 2015

And now...
In the 3rd Year of Luigi...
Our good shepherd succumbs to illness.


As the shepherd is bound to the earth that is our mother...
Let fly the balloon to guide the spirit to the heavens.
"Please understand" ;_;7

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterJuly 12, 2015

Jesus Christ I'm so sad right now. My stomach dropped when I first read the news. First thing I did was check the date for April Fools or something.


This man will be missed.

SorenJuly 12, 2015

I'm tired and I already had a full day of gaming before finding out the news, but I went ahead an changed my nickname and played a little bit of Balloon Fight and a whole heck of Splatoon in his honor. I might play some Kirby before I fall asleep. This is hard, man.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusJuly 12, 2015

He was a bit of a Master Spy too for managing to keep this under wraps until literally the last moment. He was far more sly than the vast majority of the industry gave him credit for.

I understand.

ThePermJuly 12, 2015

What happens now? Such a shock.

The next Nintendo Direct will be weird.

nhainesJuly 12, 2015

Reggie, Miyamoto, and Bill Trinen, I expect.  There are still plenty of familiar faces, and I'm not worried about those.

I wonder if Miyamoto gets promoted or if Takeda does.  Miyamoto in charge would really be something.

LouieturkeyJuly 12, 2015

This made me sad and made me catch my breath.  So sad to hear of this.  I don't know what to say.

Spak-SpangJuly 12, 2015

This caught me by surprise as well.

It is very rare, that a company is genuinely run by a good man.  That has made it to the top and has not become beaten down by the corporate business world.  Satoru Iwata I believe was one of those men.  He lead the company with his personal vision and he ran it with integrity. 

The entire industry has lost a great and influential leader...I can only imagine what Nintendo will without him.  I hope they hire or promote another visionary that will not just bow down to the shareholders.  It is quite sad though, because he passed away without naming a successor.  Hopefully, he had picked out someone before he passed away that can carry Nintendo into the future. 

KhushrenadaJuly 13, 2015

You will say wow.

To think I heard about this from Lucariofan99 in the funhouse forum first. That may be even more shocking than the news itself.

I thought we had many more years of Iwata presentations and leaderships. First, Yamauchi's death a couple years ago and now Iwata's. It feels like the end of an era is coming upon us. I've definitely enjoyed much of Iwata's time as president. I feel he was able to help keep the Nintendo brand up and expectation of quality quite strong despite an increase in competitors and changing technology. I think the way he has handled the job has mostly proved Yamauchi to have been right to hand the job to him. (The sales of the Wii U is probably the biggest knock against him.) Whoever takes over now has one heck of a legacy to fill.

the asylumJuly 13, 2015

what the actual fuck

jarodeaJuly 13, 2015

I opposed the things he was doing with Nintendo lately but I would never want this.  RIP Iwata.

YmeegodJuly 13, 2015

I wanted him to resign so I'm not going pretend to miss him but I'm looking forward to the next president.  Nintendo in large been very stubborn to adapt to the "modern" gamer--voice chat for one thing.

I welcome change.

RazorkidJuly 13, 2015

I was getting ready for work when I saw this and now I have tears in my eyes and the balloon trip breeze theme in my head. Such a blow to fun all around the world.

ejamerJuly 13, 2015

Nintendo, as a company, often frustrates me but Iwata, as a businessman and personality, always impressed.


Is it weird to say that having him immortalized as a Muppet is kind of cool?  I mean, Muppets are (to me) icons of intelligent humor and supreme dedication to a craft that some people think is "behind the times". Muppets appeal to all ages, and are loved by millions worldwide. Without trying to oversimplify who Iwata was and what he represented, I think that was an appropriate final appearance at E3 in those regards.

AdrockJuly 13, 2015

I can't say I got misty eyed after learning that Iwata passed since I didn't know him personally. I was certainly surprised since he was still pretty young and his health concerns, I suppose only in hindsight, were extremely understated. He did look really thin after he came back from his leave of absence. I'll definitely miss his Iwata Asks and presence in Nintendo Directs.

I think a lot of armchair CEOs gave Iwata a lot more shit than he deserved, minimizing his accomplishments while overblowing his failures. While Wii U undoubtedly flopped (or is flopping since currently on the market), Nintendo launched three of its most successful hardware products under his watch. One of the things I really appreciate and respect about Iwata's leadership was his refusal to lay off a bunch of people in the name of short-term results when Nintendo was struggling. I welcome smart change, and Nintendo certain could stand to usher in some positive changes, but if anything about the company culture Iwata fostered transitions to his successor, I hope the way he valued his employees is at the very top of that list.

NeoThunderJuly 13, 2015

(.:.)

1up

Fatty The HuttJuly 13, 2015

Very very sad about this. My daughter and I shed a tear this morning on hearing the news. He has left a great legacy and will be missed.

Ian SaneJuly 13, 2015

Well I now I feel so bad because I wasn't thrilled with Nintendo's leadership and figured a shakeup would be needed to get them back on track.  But I didn't want THIS!  Never has "be careful what you wish for" rang so true.

Stoeff.atJuly 13, 2015

It hit me hard when I realised how much he ment to me, just now that he is gone.

Keep on playing Mr. Iwata.

Bman87301July 13, 2015

Right now I'm picturing Shigeru Miyamoto standing on Endor, turning and looking back at the three spirits of Gunpei Yokoi, Hiroshi Yamauchi, and Satoru Iwata.

Fatty The HuttJuly 13, 2015

This is nice. A Balloon Fight music tribute to Iwata from Hip Tanaka
https://soundcloud.com/hip_tanaka/dedicated-to-satoru-iwata

pyrokamileonJuly 13, 2015

"I was prepared for trouble but not for this"

http://notnotbobslist.org/dontpanic/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Prepared-for-Trouble-but-not-for-this.jpg

KnowsNothingJuly 14, 2015

I never post here anymore but I'm pretty sure my avatar is his beautiful face creating sunshine for children all over the world to enjoy.  Hopefully the next president hates smartphone games as much as I do.

ThePermJuly 15, 2015

thats the avatar I want to see

Fatty The HuttJuly 15, 2015

Quote from: KnowsNothing

I never post here anymore but I'm pretty sure my avatar is his beautiful face creating sunshine for children all over the world to enjoy.  Hopefully the next president hates smartphone games as much as I do.

Perfect!

TOPHATANT123July 18, 2015

https://youtu.be/aPwCcQFMzZE
Here is one of my favourite Iwata videos, he awkwardly sits down to discuss waifus with a developer of Love Plus. Smile on his face the entire time, probably realising how surreal his life was as a CEO of the world's greatest long standing game company.

StogiJuly 18, 2015

Crazy.

I remember the first time I gave my wii controller over to my niece and how she lit up with sheer joy and wonder as she tried to hit a tennis ball.

I remember reading about the stories of patients playing Wii to rehabilitate themselves.

I remember playing my NDS as I volunteered overnight at a homeless shelter.

I hope Iwata knew how much he touched people's lives.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusJuly 18, 2015

Quote from: TOPHATANT123

https://youtu.be/aPwCcQFMzZE
Here is one of my favourite Iwata videos, he awkwardly sits down to discuss waifus with a developer of Love Plus. Smile on his face the entire time, probably realising how surreal his life was as a CEO of the world's greatest long standing game company.

He just rolls with it like it like any other game. He understood what it was about and why such a game exists. He doesn't make fun of it and see the usefulness and the new technologies it created. Most other people wouldn't show up or do it so they can flip it off. Not Iwata, who is legit pleasantly surprised by some of it.

NullNoMoreJuly 21, 2015

He made my family's life happier, giving us new adventures we could trust.  I am very sad and my thoughts are with his family and colleagues.

Mop it upJuly 21, 2015

I had just heard about this the other day, it was pretty surprising. I know that he's missed some events over the past year due to "health issues," but I don't think anyone ever said what he had. I certainly don't recall anyone saying he had a kind of cancer. Plus it also seemed like he was doing better. I guess we won't be getting the full story on this one...

I didn't always agree with his decisions, but overall he was definitely good for Nintendo, and looking at his lists of accomplishments that have been popping up further confirms it. This isn't just a mournful loss for the people of Nintendo, but for Nintendo as a company as well. This may be tough to recover from, I hope they can pull it off.

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