Posted on May 30 2011 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
E3 2011 is getting so close now, with only eight days remaining until Nintendo’s press conference. Today we continue our countdown with our “Getting to Know Your Presenters” trilogy. Just how well do you know the figureheads at Nintendo who will be presenting at E3 this year?
Yesterday we familiarized you with the legendary Reggie, and today we move our focus to Nintendo’s big boss – Satoru Iwata. His official title is the President and CEO of Nintendo, and in my opinion, he is probably one of the best, most fun-loving big corporation bosses there are. Read on for Iwata’s story.
- Name: Satoru Iwata
- Position: President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nintendo (Worldwide)
- DOB: December 6, 1959
Life Before Nintendo
Satoru Iwata was born in Sapporo, Japan in 1959. Since a young age he showed an interest in video games, and especially in designing and creating them. During his high school years, Iwata demonstrated an interest in computer programming specifically and produced some home-made electronic games of his own. These mostly included simple number games making use of an electronic calculator.
After high school Iwata studied computer science at the prestigious Tokyo Institute of Technology. During this time he did freelance programming work for HAL Laboratory – a subsidiary of Nintendo. HAL is well known today for creating Kirby and the Super Smash Bros. series.
After graduating with a major in computer science, Iwata was employed full time at HAL Laboratory. In 1983 he became the company’s coordinator of software production. Some of the games that he worked on extensively include Balloon Fight, Earthbound and Kirby. Ten years later, in 1993, Iwata was promoted to President of HAL and on occasion he worked on a freelance basis for Nintendo to design games – as a number of HAL employees did.
Life at Nintendo
After seven years as the President of HAL, Iwata took on a new job as head of Nintendo’s corporate planning division. He is credited for creating Nintendo’s strategy leading up to, and during, the release of the Nintendo Gamecube in 2001. Due to his efforts, Nintendo achieved a 41% increase in sales at the end of the 2002 fiscal year.
In 2002, Nintendo’s 53-year running President Hiroshi Yamauchi retired, and Iwata succeeded him as the Fourth President and Chief Executive Officer of Nintendo. It was due to his work for promoting the Gamecube for the two years prior that Iwata earned favor in the company. Retiring president Yamauchi was honored to have Iwata take up his mantle, stating that Iwata “has the instincts you need to survive in this business.”
Interestingly, Iwata is the first President of Nintendo not related to the Yamauchi family through blood or marriage, showing that he clearly earned his position. Iwata is known to still help out HAL Laboratories as a correspondent, and also still works on concept art for characters in the Kirby series.
Iwata saw the Nintendo DS and Wii from concepts right through to consoles in the gaming market, and his work for the Wii earned him a spot as one of the world’s top CEOs according to Barron’s Magazine. As President of Nintendo, his current focuses are on the Nintendo 3DS and the upcoming Project Café. Many of us know Iwata from his regular show on the Nintendo website – Iwata asks – where he speaks to other developers such as Eiji Aonuma and Shigeru Miyamoto on everything Nintendo.
During his time at Nintendo Iwata has also worked on Zelda, Mario and Animal Crossing Titles. He also makes an appearance in WarioWare: Smooth Moves as the “Shop Manager Iwata”. In fact, you can see his name in almost every current Nintendo game’s credits as Executive Producer.
The man has lead a life of hard work to earn his position at the top of Nintendo, yet still manages to be what many would say is the funnest boss in the world. Well, at least publicly. As always Iwata will have plenty to say at this years E3, and is likely to be the one who introduces us to the Wii’s successor. In Iwata I trust!