Nintendo President, Iwata, Dies at 55
Iwata’s health had been declining for some time. In 2014, he missed the E3 conference in Los Angeles on advice of his physician. He underwent what was believed to have been successful surgery shortly thereafter.
Iwata’s career began as a developer with Nintendo subsidiary HAL Laboratories, where he worked on popular Nintendo games such as Balloon Fight and Earthbound. He became president of HAL in 1993. Seven years later he became the head of corporate planning at Nintendo proper, a title he held for only two years. In 2002, Iwata succeeded longtime company president Hiroshi Yamauchi to become only the fourth president in Nintendo’s history.
Greatly admired by gamers and peers, Iwata steered Nintendo through some of its brightest days. During his tenure, Nintendo released the DS line of handhelds — the best-selling video game system of all-time — as well as the wildly popular Wii console.
Iwata’s friendly demeanor endeared him to countless players. In 2011 he launched a series of Nintendo Direct online events in which he would speak directly to fans and announce new games and updates. His “Iwata Asks” interview series lent fantastic inight into the minds of Nintendo’s own game developers.