73 Facts About Satoru Iwata


Satoru Iwata was a Japanese businessman, video game programmer, video game designer, and producer.


Satoru Iwata was the fourth president and chief executive officer of Nintendo from 2002 until his death in 2015.


Satoru Iwata was a major contributor in broadening the appeal of video games by focusing on novel and entertaining games rather than top-of-the-line hardware.


Satoru Iwata majored in computer science at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.


Satoru Iwata joined Nintendo as the head of its corporate planning division in 2000.


Satoru Iwata expanded his strategy by defining a quality-of-life product line for the Wii that evolved into a ten-year strategy to create standalone products.


In 2015, after several years of refusal, Satoru Iwata put a portion of Nintendo's focus into the rapidly growing mobile game market; a landmark partnership with mobile provider DeNA was established that March.

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The problem resurfaced in 2015, and Satoru Iwata died at the age of 55 from its complications on July 11.


Satoru Iwata was born on December 6,1959, and raised in Sapporo, Japan, where his father served as a prefectural official.


The several simple number games Satoru Iwata produced, such as Volleyball and Missile Attack, made use of an electronic calculator he shared with his schoolmates.


Satoru Iwata obtained his first computer, a Commodore PET, in 1978.


Satoru Iwata dismantled and studied the machine out of his desire to understand it.


Terakura would later serve as a mentor to Satoru Iwata, teaching him about hardware engineering to supplement Satoru Iwata's already extensive software knowledge.


Satoru Iwata joined the company in a full-time capacity after graduating in 1982, becoming its fifth employee and only programmer.


Satoru Iwata became the company's coordinator of software production in 1983, the time during which he helped HAL create a relationship with Nintendo so they would be able to produce games for its newly released Nintendo Entertainment System.


Satoru Iwata traveled to Kyoto himself to request permission to work on games for the NES, to which Nintendo obliged.


Satoru Iwata seized this opportunity and "recklessly" stepped up to develop the game.


In 2000, Satoru Iwata joined Nintendo as the head of its corporate planning division and took a seat on the board of directors.


When Yamauchi, the company's president since 1949, retired on May 24,2002, Satoru Iwata succeeded as Nintendo's fourth president with Yamauchi's blessing.


Satoru Iwata was the first Nintendo president unrelated to the Yamauchi family through blood or marriage since its founding in 1889.


Satoru Iwata's presidency came at the onset of the popularization of online gaming, and Nintendo had yet to move into this facet of the market.


Shigeru Miyamoto described the previous business atmosphere as "stuffy" and stated Satoru Iwata "improved the ventilation".


Satoru Iwata was acutely aware that his position as president would not ensure compliance from his employees and sought to communicate with them on a personal level.


Alongside the increased level of interaction, Satoru Iwata brought more data and science into the business aspect of the company.


Whereas Yamauchi made decisions based on intuition and experience, Satoru Iwata brought forth hypotheses loaded with data to convey his position.

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Satoru Iwata promoted Miyamoto, Genyo Takeda, Yoshihiro Mori, and Shinji Hatano to representative directors on the company's board of directors, equaling his own position.


Satoru Iwata sought to promote collaborative work throughout the company.


Satoru Iwata later established a "User Expansion Project" in 2005 whereby employees normally not associated with game development would submit ideas for new games.


Satoru Iwata articulated a "blue ocean" strategy to help Nintendo successfully compete against the other console manufacturers.


Satoru Iwata helped lead a revitalization of Nintendo's handheld business by transitioning the company from the Game Boy Advance to the Nintendo DS, which sported a unique form factor and inclusion of a touchscreen that allowed for novel games.


In June 2004, Satoru Iwata sought a conference with Dr Ryuta Kawashima about a game that could appeal to non-gamers.


Statistics showed that households often shared a single DS, and Satoru Iwata sought to expand this from one per household to one per person.


Satoru Iwata saw the gradual price drop in the five-year cycle as a way of indirectly telling consumers to wait to purchase products and a punishment for those who bought it at launch.


Satoru Iwata sought to alleviate this issue with the quick releases.


Satoru Iwata subsequently assigned Takeda to the project, "telling [Takeda] to go off the tech roadmap".


Alongside the internal hardware designed by Nintendo's engineers, Satoru Iwata proposed that the console abandon use of a typical controller to make gaming more accessible to everyone.


Satoru Iwata insisted that the Wii Remote be referred to as simply a "remote" rather than a controller to emphasize its accessibility to anyone.


At E3 2009, Satoru Iwata revealed development of an add-on product to the Wii: the Wii Vitality Sensor.


Satoru Iwata saw the device as a continuation of the "blue ocean" strategy previously articulated.


Satoru Iwata indicated that the market of motion controls was turning into a "red ocean", whereby too many companies would saturate the market and restrict profits.


In January 2014, Satoru Iwata unveiled a ten-year strategy for the company based on quality-of-life products.


Subsequent hardware units under Satoru Iwata's tenure, including the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, were not as successful as the DS and Wii, and Nintendo's finances took a downward turn starting in 2010.


Satoru Iwata later admitted in 2014 that he had misread the market and had not appropriately accounted for changing lifestyles since the launch of the Wii.


Satoru Iwata continually placed focus on family-oriented games despite declining popularity.


In June 2013, Satoru Iwata took on the additional role of Nintendo of America's CEO.

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However, during an interview the following year, Satoru Iwata appeared entirely against the idea of Nintendo moving into the mobile market, claiming the company would "cease to be Nintendo" if they did so.


Satoru Iwata reasoned that mobile gaming would lack integrity over the quality of games in an effort to turn a profit.


In March 2015, Satoru Iwata put part of Nintendo's focus on the growing mobile game market, creating a landmark partnership with mobile provider DeNA to publish games, as traditional hardware console sales began to falter.


Satoru Iwata emphasized that although Nintendo IPs would be utilized in mobile games, the company would not compromise their integrity.


Satoru Iwata stressed that the main goal would be to reach as many people as possible rather than which options would earn the most money, similar to the idea behind the Wii.


Satoru Iwata emphasized that the business model for these games did not match with the core values of Nintendo and could not serve as the basis of "long-lasting relationship with [Nintendo's] customers".


Satoru Iwata oversaw development of the Nintendo Switch through the final months of his life, serving as the console's head developer.


Satoru Iwata focused on the technical aspects of the device during this stage.


Satoru Iwata helped Nintendo to improve relations with its fans by regularly responding to them through social media, and he shared insights on Nintendo's employees, games, and hardware through his interview series Satoru Iwata Asks.


In 2011, Satoru Iwata helped to institute Nintendo Direct, a series of online press conferences open to all that revealed upcoming Nintendo games and products outside of typical industry channels.


Satoru Iwata enjoyed conversing with reporters and would prepare stories in advance to entertain them.


Satoru Iwata assisted in the founding of Creatures Inc and The Pokemon Company which were established in 1995 and 1998, respectively, by Tsunekazu Ishihara.


Satoru Iwata later coordinated licensing changes domestically and internationally with The Pokemon Company when it became its own entity.


In 1998, Satoru Iwata helped his colleague and personal friend Shigesato Itoi establish Hobonichi by working as the company's IT Manager.


Satoru Iwata personally enjoyed the role and even still held the position in 2007, despite running Nintendo full-time by this point.


Satoru Iwata worked on Animal Crossing, Mario, Metroid Prime, and The Legend of Zelda series of games, among others.


Satoru Iwata partook in the development of Pokemon Go, an augmented reality mobile game, starting in 2013.


Satoru Iwata appeared to take this in stride and updated his own Mii, avatars used in Nintendo hardware, in June 2015 to reflect his slimmer self.


On January 28,2015, Satoru Iwata came down with a high fever and was suspected to have influenza; a meeting with shareholders was postponed accordingly.


At The Game Awards 2015, Reggie Fils-Aime delivered a tribute to Satoru Iwata, describing him as "fearless" and "unique, in the fullest meaning of the word".

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Satoru Iwata was seen as the embodiment of Nintendo: playful, quirky, humorous, and fun.


The opening to Satoru Iwata's "Heart of a Gamer" speech at GDC 2005 is regarded as the "essence" of who he was: a humble businessman dedicated to video games.


Chris Kohler of Wired magazine stated that "thanks to Nintendo's Satoru Iwata, we're all gamers now," referring to the surge in video game popularity following the releases of the Nintendo DS and Wii.


Satoru Iwata was posthumously and unanimously granted the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 Golden Joystick Awards for his influence across the gaming industry.


Satoru Iwata was posthumously granted the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 DICE Awards.


At the 2016 Game Developers Choice Awards, Satoru Iwata was honored with a short animated film by David Hellman, the artist who worked on Braid.


The book includes excerpts from many Satoru Iwata Asks interviews and interviews with Satoru Iwata's closest friends, including Shigeru Miyamoto and Shigesato Itoi, after his death.


In September 2017, modders discovered that an emulated version of the NES game Golf, which Satoru Iwata programmed, is included in the Nintendo Switch firmware, accessed by moving the Joy-Con controllers similarly to how Satoru Iwata would move his hands in Nintendo Direct presentations when the system clock is set to July 11, the day of his death.