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July 13, 2015

Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata dies at 55

The company launched the highly successful Nintendo DS and Wii under his leadership.

By CBR Staff Writer

Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata has died at 55, following a bile duct growth.

Iwata, who has been suffering from the ailment for some time, died on 11 July, the company said in a statement.

Born in 1959 in Japan, Iwata majored in computer science from the Tokyo Institute of Technology and worked in HAL Laboratory. He helped HAL turnaround from the verge of bankruptcy.

Appointed as director in Nintendo in 2000, Iwata became the fourth president of the company, in 2002, succeeding Hiroshi Yamauchi.

He was the first person from outside the Yamauchi family to become the president of the company.

Iwata joined Nintendo at a time when it fell behind its competitors with its Gamecube failing in the market.

However, the company turned around with the launch of the highly successful Wii and Nintendo DS, during his regime.

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In March, Nintendo announced its decision to develop gaming applications for smartphones in partnership with mobile gaming company DeNA. This was a move in deviation to its original stance of not entering the mobile device market.

The company did not immediately announce a successor to Iwata but said that Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto will remain as senior managing directors.

Frost & Sullivan Tokyo head of digital media Marc Einstein told the BBC: "The successor will most likely be someone internal and it will be crucial whether it will be someone who is serious about that step into mobile gaming."

Photo: courtesy of Game Developers Conference.

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