Former Nintendo President and the visionary businessman credited with transforming the company into the video games behemoth it is today, Hiroshi Yamauchi, died this morning aged 85.
Mr Yamauchi ran the firm for 53 years, taking the role in 1949, before being succeeded by current President Satoru Iwata. Since stepping down in May 2002, Yamauichi had continued to serve as a special advisor to Iwata and remained the company’s second-largest shareholder.
Mr Yamauchi took charge of Nintendo after his grandfather suffered a stroke and after several years developing the firm’s existing hanafuda trading card business, turned it to electronic entertainment.
During his time as President, Yamauchi spearheaded Nintendo’s campaign of artistic creativity and, in the earlier years of video gaming, was solely responsible for titles released by the company.
He believed that artists, rather than engineers, made good games, and that marketing departments weren’t always the most forward-thinking. He also led the company through the launch of their most iconic consoles including the SNES, Gameboy & N64.
Since his departure from the Nintendo Board of Directors in 2005 the company have faced a somewhat turbulent time within the industry. Whilst 2006’s Wii became the firm’s most successful console ever, more recently the Wii U has struggled to find its audience and maintain relevance in today’s market.
Yamauchi is, without a doubt, responsible for the video games industry you love today and will be greatly missed by many.