Why Yamauchi Chose Iwata: Was It a Wise Decision?


In lieu of Nikkei’s latest news regarding Iwata and other Nintendo executives taking pay cuts due to financial losses and other company concerns, many individuals, including analysts and industry big wigs, have been suggesting that Global President Satoru Iwata step down from his position and hand over the crown to someone more capable.

Satoru-IwataAs a gamer, I’m personally conflicted with Iwata’s placement as he has brought in more profit than previous Nintendo presidents. Though he does stumble often in other, arguably more important areas, in my opinion, they outweigh the good that he’s done for the company financially. Conversly, he shows so much dedication to his company that he’s willing to cut his own pay for Nintendo’s financial well-being.

For those who are unaware, Iwata was a game maker before becoming president of Nintendo which further explains some of his unorthadox methods related to gameplay and overall hardware infrastructure. Although he lacks business savvy in some regards, former and late president of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi felt otherwise. Quoted below.

“The reason for Iwata-san’s selection comes down to his knowledge and understanding of Nintendo’s hardware and software. An executive, regardless of his vast successes, is fundamentally an executive, who doesn’t intimately understand our products.” Yamauchi continues, “Within our industry there are those who believe that they will succeed simply because of their successes in other ventures or their wealth, but that doesn’t guarantee success. Looking at their experiences since entering the gaming world, it’s apparent that our competitors have yielded far more failures than successes. It’s been said that Sony is the current winner in the gaming world. However, when considering their ‘victory’, you should remember that their success is only a very recent development. Though Sony is widely held to be the strongest in the market, their fortunes may change. Tomorrow, they could lose that strength, as reversals of fortune are part of this business. Taking into account the things I’ve encountered in my experiences as Nintendo president, I have come to the conclusion that it requires a special talent to manage a company in this industry. I selected Iwata-san based on that criteria. Over the long-term I don’t know whether Iwata-san will maintain Nintendo’s position or lead the company to even greater heights of success. At the very least, I believe him to be the best person for the job.”

In spite of Iwata’s wins or losses, how as a gamer do you feel about Iwata’s position as Nintendo’s global president? Keep in mind that this isn’t the only time that Iwata has taken a price cut. In some ways, it’s honorable that a figure head would rather take a price cut, than lay off employees or sacrifice other areas due to hard times, but how many “please understands” can any fan of the company endure?

Do you think that Yamauchi appointed the wrong man for the job? Do you think Iwata is doing just fine?

Tell us how you feel below.

Sources: Nikkei | Wired via Nintendo.co.jp | N-sider

  • it is year 2 he needs to make it really count. He was chosen for a reason things will change.

  • One thing that I find especially interesting is how closely Iwata’s job performance has mirrored how Yamauchi expected him to perform. It’s also kinda odd that Yamauchi would appoint someone with such drastic practices as well. Yamauchi was no bs and hard hitting. Iwata is much more lenient and graceful lol.

  • Luis G

    As a gamer that wants to see a cutting edge system developed by Nintendo Id say he is the wrong guy. He was chosen because he would not falter the Nintendo way. In that he has held his place in spades. Nintendo will always do things the Nintendo way.

  • I’m torn on Iwata.

    On the one hand Iwata seems like a good person, and the fact that he was willing to take a pay cut just makes him seem even better. He also helped Nintendo continue to dominate the mobile market with the DS and the 3DS.

    But on the other hand, he made the potentially devastating mistake of not properly preparing the WiiU for the limelight. With the amazing, juggernaut success of the Wii, and Nintendo’s year head start, the 8th gen was practically handed to Nintendo on a platter. 2013 should have been known as the glorious first year of the WiiU. They had the chance to corner the market and get the WiiU’s name out there, but failed to utilize it, and continued to make mistakes even after that.

    This next year is going to be do or die time for the WiiU and Nintendo. I like Iwata enough to want to see him turn things around, but if he fails to deliver again I can’t stand by him.

  • I’m pretty much with Rogue here, I think of this as a back and forth scenario. It is pretty rare to see a CEO of a company willing to take a pay cut and responsibility for their shortcomings. Most people will not do that at all, but on the other hand, if the are no results, then that pay cut means absolutely nothing. I really don’t know who would be the best person for the job. I’ve said it many times before, but Nintendo needs a complete turn around if they want to get back to where they used to be. The person that is willing to do that should be in charge, but whoever that is, I have no clue. if Iwata wants to prove me wrong, then he is more than welcome to do so, but I’m not seeing it. A direction change is needed, not more pay cutting.

  • I feel the same way, Nintendo needs a really big face lift or a huge kick in the pants to get going in a direction that will carry them well into the future. If not, Nintendo might cease to exist in the next 5 years. Not that we want to see that and I’m sure they’ll merge with someone if that time ever comes, but they way they are going now, I can’t see too much good things for them in the future.