Nintendo’s future under the spotlight


– Nick Palmisano

In the wake of CEO Satoru Iwata’s death, Nintendo veterans Miyamoto and Takeda look set to steer the company into an exciting, transformative future.

Shigeru Miyamoto is possibly the greatest video game developer of all time. Director and game designer of Super Mario Bros. Donkey Kong and Star Fox, Miyamoto turned a dusty, matte grey cartridge into a freedom to explore the stars, jump barrels, and climb down sewer pipes. These rank among the highest-selling, most critically acclaimed and influential games in history.

As a kid you thought being a plumber wouldn’t be such a bad gig, you ate bananas because of Donkey Kong, and weren’t so freaked by the idea of anthropomorphic animals because hey, Star Fox man. Well, you can send thanks to Shigeru Miyamoto. I’ve sent stacks of letters, but Miyamoto-san never writes me back…

Shigeru Miyamoto

At least direct one of those metal hands towards me.

An unparalleled mind, Miyamoto has been one of the leading creators and designers at Nintendo for 38 years, and if it weren’t for his name behind many of the most beloved, recognizable titles in gaming, we might not appreciate Nintendo in quite the same way. There is another Nintendo veteran in whom the company’s humble beginnings are reflected, and it was by his hands, literally, that Miyamoto’s games could be brought to life.

Committing a staggering 43 years of his life to Nintendo, Genyo Takeda was there from the beginning. He created the very first Nintendo arcade game, EVR Race, in 1975, which makes him the first game designer in Nintendo’s history. However, Takeda’s true skill and talent is Nintendo hardware; the only reason we could save the game in the very first Legend of Zelda is because Takeda-San and his team created the battery backup memory. Think about the analog stick on the Nintendo 64that was Takeda-san. Fan of the GameCube? He helped design the console, and the controls.

He carries that with him everywhere to remind us.

Genyo Takeda was one of the key designers on the Nintendo Wii, the company’s most successful console, which has sold over 100 million units. He is also the GM of Nintendo’s integrated research division. Both men are pioneers in the fields of gaming, technology, and interface.

For now, Miyamoto and Takeda are at the helm, sharing duties as twin representative directors in the wake of Iwata-sans death. Choosing between the two will not be a decision Nintendo takes lightly. However, business analysts comment that Takeda is more likely to ascend than Miyamoto, as he is believed to have a better grasp of the corporate side of management. Takeda’s experience with hardware development is considered crucial as Nintendo looks to release the code named NX console going into 2016, and their planned expansion into mobile gaming.

Filling the shoes of former CEO Satoru Iwata is no easy task; a ‘gentle revolutionary’, he was a man who played the conservative Nintendo game, but wasn’t afraid of pushing the boundaries in an effort to innovate, as was the wish of his predecessor, Hiroshi Yamauchi.

Iwata posing with a 3DS at E3.

The Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii both saw the light of day under Iwata’s charge, and both have sold over 100 million units each, ranking them among the highest selling consoles of all time. It’s an interesting period in the history of a fascinating company; one that still has both the minds and the muscle to innovate with hardware and software. Off the back of their first profit in three years and a rise in the share price, the loss of Iwata-san leaves Nintendo at the crossroads of their metamorphosis.

The partnership with DeNA to create mobile games, and the aforementioned NX console could prove a reimagining for the company after lacklustre Wii U sales and stagnant growth. After a few disappointing years, analysts now agree that either Miyamoto or Takeda would be exactly the right man to steer Nintendo towards a prosperous evolution.

You can speculate with Nick on Twitter @Nick_JCU. For more gaming news follow @load_screen and like us on Facebook.

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