Following the death of beloved Nintendo president Satoru Iwata in July, the Japanese video game game company named Tatsumi Kimishima their new president today. Kimishima, 65, has been serving as the head of Nintendo’s human resources department sine June of last year, and filled various other positions within the company since joining in 2002, including chief executive and director of Nintendo’s American division, where he oversaw the launch for the Wii.
Additionally, Nintendo announced that Shigeru Miyamoto, the esteemed creator of many of Nintendo’s popular titles like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, is to become the company’s “creative fellow”, says The New York Times. Miyamoto had been co-leading the company with executive and manager of Nintendo’s research division, Genyo Takeda, since Iwata’s death, and will continue to provide advice and guidance alongside Takeda for Kimishima as they bounce back from their tragic loss.
Fortunately this means even without Iwata, Nintendo has a strong base of knowledge and experience to lean on as it heads into the holiday season. The company has also begun turning a profit again after four years in the red thanks to a few blockbuster games. However, Nintendo is still under immense pressure from mobile games and competition in the family game market from the likes of Amazon and Apple, making the role of president a bit daunting for Kimishima at this time. Iwata had begun initiatives before passing to help Nintendo advance their technology, including a deal with the mobile gaming company DeNa to get their most popular characters on smartphones (perhaps PokemonGO is a product of this), and is even thinking of branching out into a fitness and health business. Although despite this, the company’s shares fell somewhat in Monday trading, closing less than one percent down at the close of the Tokyo stock exchange, and seeing a similar dip in Germany.
Fans are already sceptical of the replacement for Iwata, and understandably so. On top of the warm personality that we all adored, he also possessed deep knowledge of game design and valued his fanbase, often preparing videos that showed customers what was going on behind the scenes at the company. With his involvement in both the Earthbound and Kirby franchises and a background in computer science, it was clear that Iwata was a true gamer at heart. Kimishima is first and foremost a business executive, although he has extensive knowledge of the comapany’s U.S. and Japanese markets. It’s easy to think that things won’t be the same, but I believe Kimishima wouldn’t have been chosen if he wasn’t qualified and didn’t represent the happy-go-lucky attitude we have all come to love about Nintendo.
So on behalf of thousands of gamers who grew up with Nintendo gaming systems, I’d like to say:
Welcome, Tatsumi Kimishima. We would like to play.