In sad news, Nintendo’s president, a man who successfully helmed the company from 1949 to 2002, has passed away earlier today. Announced in Nikkei, Yamauchi was being treated in Kyoto city for pneumonia at the time of his death.
He was influential in directing the company down the path towards video games, turning it from a small trading card company into a recognisable video game brand and overseeing the company’s success with coin operated markets with Shigeru Miyamoto’s Donkey Kong. Furthermore, his tenure saw the growing development of “high tech toys” such as the 1983 Family Computer Disk System which had the company enter the home console market. This continued with later developments such as the Game Boy and Nintendo 64. He eventually stepped down from presidency in 2002 following the launch of the Gamecube. Yamauchi continued to maintain close ties with Nintendo even after retirement, and was the second largest shareholder in Nintento.
His influence following his death has been commented upon by a number of figures within the industry. Quoted by the BBC, former Eidos chairman Ian Livingston stated that “Hiroshi Yamauchi transformed a run-of the-mill trading card company into an entertainment empire in video games. He understood the social value of play, and economic potential of electronic gaming.” Livingston then called him a “true visionary”.
A memorial service was held at the company headquarters of Kyoto Minami-ku Kamitobahokotate following news being released and a memorial will be held this Sunday. He is survived by his three children.
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