As the gaming world continues to process the passing of Satoru Iwata, gaming ambassador and Nintendo president, it’s important to reflect on the most recent impacts he had within the industry. Even during the tough financial times for Nintendo, Iwata had no shame in taking the blame for Nintendo’s falling shares. More importantly, in a day and age where many corporate CEO’s are thought of as power-hungry, malicious, and greedy harbingers of income inequality, Iwata reduced his salary on multiple occasions when Nintendo’s profits dipped.
Even though CEOs in Japan are known for having much lower salaries than their counterparts in other developed parts of the world, it’s an important consideration to recognize Iwata’s willingness to take hits to his own wallet in exchange for the risks that the company would take. These risks are why Nintendo has such devoted fans. Nintendo has always been, and will undoubtedly continue to be, pushing for that which is unique, but with that comes a certain amount of financial risk.
Unfortunately, some ideas don’t always catch on and will ultimately have more of a niche following. Iwata embraced the risks, exuding excitement while always trying to do what is best for Nintendo and the gaming community at large. That will be his legacy, and as Nintendo looks on to appointing their next president and CEO, the ideals that Satoru Iwata held will certainly be worth striving towards.
The video below is the perfect example of Satoru Iwata’s joy for gaming and his insightful nature. His appearance below, delivering the keynote at the Game Developers Conference from 2005, is a window into the history and upbringing of the late mascot of Nintendo.