Late last night, the video game industry lost a major presence, as Nintendo’s President and CEO Satoru Iwata passed away at the age of 55. Now, messages and tributes from an international array of developers and fans are pouring in via Twitter and other social media platforms.
"On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer." - Iwata-san— Bungie (@Bungie) July 13, 2015
Iwata became something of a talismanic figure for the company, and his era will certainly be remembered for its enormous financial successes as well as the countless memorable titles released for Nintendo consoles.
The man himself will be remembered for his warmth — something of a contrast to his business-first predecessor Hiroshi Yamauchi. Fans saw plenty of this side of Iwata during public appearances and projects like the Iwata Asks series, and it’s something that many public tributes have seen fit to highlight.
Whenever Mr. Iwata was in the office, he'd change his 3DS StreetPass message to "Hello NOA!" Was a company president that cared.— Andrew Kelly (@AndrewNK) July 13, 2015
To celebrate Iwata’s life and work, Polygon has published a collection of long-form responses to his passing. Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida said that Iwata “was an inspiration as a leader of one of the most influential companies in the game industry, who used to make games himself and has always been a gamer.”
Meanwhile, head of Xbox Phil Spencer noted that “Iwata-san has been President of Nintendo really for as long as we’ve been in the Xbox business”, before making the following observation as to the man’s passion for creating great experiences at Nintendo:
“In the times I’ve met Iwata-san I always took away someone who believed in the ‘why’ behind the games and platforms they built. I think this was born out of the fact that he was a gamer at heart.”
I was devastated about the loss of Satoru Iwata today. Then I decided to play some Nintendo games. Now I'm smiling again. Thank you, Iwata.— Brian Altano (@agentbizzle) July 13, 2015
General manager of the Game Developers Conference Megan Scavio stated that Iwata “was and remains an inspiration to us all”. While Iwata was best known for his work with Nintendo, his reach spanned the entire video game industry, as Scavio illustrates here:
“When Satoru Iwata stepped onto the GDC keynote stage in 2006 and told the audience he had the heart of a gamer, every single person hearing his words knew he was sincere. And when it came time to invite someone to keynote our 25th anniversary, he was honestly our only choice.”
Today, the world of video games mourns a truly beloved figure. However, while the man may have passed, his impact on the industry he loved will be as fitting a legacy as any other — right now, we’ve only seen a glimpse of the work that will be produced by men and women who were inspired to create by Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata.
We here at Game Rant send our sincere condolences to any and all family, friends, and colleagues of Iwata-san. His impact on the industry surely speaks for itself.