Satoru Iwata, Nintendo CEO and an icon within the gaming industry, passed away after a struggle against cancer. Iwata, 55 years old, was responsible for the huge Wii and DS successes.
Driving force behind Nintendo Wii
Iwata joined Nintendo in 1983 as a programmer and worked on game franchises like The Legend of zelda, Mario and Animal Crossing. He quickly rose through the ranks and was appointed CEO of HAL Laboratory in 1993, a Nintendo division that was on the brink of bankruptcy. Thanks to Iwata's leadership, the division got back on its feet.
When Hiroshi Yamauchi, who had led Nintendo since 1949, decided to resign in 2002, Iwata was appointed as his successor. He was the fourth CEO of the company and the very first with no direct link to the Yamauchi family.
At that time, Nintendo was going through some rough weather, as the Gamecube console failed to compete against the overwhelming success of Sony's PlayStation 2 and Microsoft's Xbox. He helped guide Nintendo's handheld division to huge heights with the launch of the Nintendo DS, a successor of the famous Game Boy.
He also introduced the Nintendo Wii, a console that sold more than 100 million copies and signaled Nintendo's return to the top of the industry. Its successor, the Wii U, failed to live up to the hype and will probably go down in history as a flop.
It is unclear who will take over from Iwata at this point.