The Issue: Why Miyamoto Won't Be President of Nintendo

Posted by | July 22, 2015 | News, Opinion, Video | One Comment

The Issue is a weekly show where we talk in depth about one topic. Let us know what you think in the comments! Have a topic suggestion? Email it to hello@pixelkin.org.

Recently, Nintendo’s fantastic, kind, and thoughtful president and CEO Satoru Iwata passed away from cancer at the young age of 55. Although it’s hard for Nintendo fans to imagine the multi-billion-dollar corporation being led by anyone else, that reality is upon us. What will become of the Nintendo empire (Nintenpire)? Who will take over now? Will the new president be able to live up to the ideals created by Iwata’s legacy?

While we do not know who the next president of Nintendo will be, Courtney and Simone have decided to put on their speculator specs and make some wild guesses.

Shigeru Miyamoto

Shigeru Miyamoto is a pretty silly guy.

It Probably Won’t Be Shigeru Miyamoto

If you love Nintendo, you probably know that Shigeru Miyamoto invented Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, Star Fox, Pikmin, Princess Peach, Luigi, Metroid, Toad, Bowser… The list goes on. To many Nintendo fans, he may therefore seem like the perfect choice for the next president. He’s well known, well loved, and well respected. He’s deeply rooted in Nintendo’s corporate culture. And right now he’s serving as interim president.

But he’s got some big things working against him. One of those things is that he invented Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, et cetera. In other words, he is an artist. While Satoru Iwata also developed several games before becoming president of Nintendo, Iwata also had good business acumen. And if you are going to lead a multi-billion-dollar corporation, you’re going to need to be at least 50% business. Miyamoto is more like 25% business.

Also, Miyamoto is in his mid-60s. While this doesn’t automatically disqualify him, Courtney’s hunch is that Nintendo will want to choose someone a little bit younger.

Plus, Miyamoto is in the perfect place right now (aside from this interim president stuff): taking it easy, developing some passion projects, and consulting on big stuff. If I were Nintendo, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Genyo Takeda

Genyo Takeda in an interview with Satoru Iwata.

It Probably Won’t Be Genyo Takeda

Genyo Takeda is the other person who is currently serving as interim president alongside Miyamoto. Takeda has also been with Nintendo for decades, though his hard work is a little less well known. Takeda invented a lot of cool hardware for Nintendo, including the thing that made it possible to save games to cartridges and the special type of joystick used in the Nintendo 64 controller.

But, Takeda (like Miyamoto) is getting on in years. He’s already given Nintendo over 40 years of service, and who knows if he’ll even be interested in devoting the rest of his life to such a demanding job.

Plus, Takeda is a little rough around the edges. While assuredly a very nice guy, he has referred to himself as “rather short-tempered,” and in an interview with Iwata, Takeda once said of gamers, “There is no end to the desire of those who just want more. Give them one, they ask for two. Give them two and the next time they will ask for five instead of three, their desire growing exponentially.” I mean…you’re not wrong, but ouch.

Iwata was the calmest, most polite of humans, so switching to someone so blunt might be more of a transition than Nintendo is willing to make just now.

Satoru Shibata

Satoru Shibata is pretty adorbs.

It Very Well Might Be Satoru Shibata

Satoru Shibata has been the president of Nintendo of Europe since 2000. Before that, he was president of Nintendo of Australia. (In the US, we have Reggie Fils-Aimé filling this role.)

While Shibata doesn’t have a lot of fame on this side of the pond (his Wikipedia page doesn’t even have a photo), he’s pretty well known in Europe because since 2012, he’s been hosting the European versions of Nintendo Direct videos alongside Satoru Iwata.

Don’t let this give you the wrong impression: unlike Reggie Fils-Aimé, Shibata is a famously shy guy (heh… “shy guy”). And he’s in his early 50s.

His quiet, polite demeanor, his relative youth, and his small fan following make us think that Shibata is going to be the next president of Nintendo. Plus, he’s cute as a button. More than anything, he’s the person at Nintendo who most makes us think of Iwata.

So who do you think is going to be Nintendo’s next president? Let us know in the comments, and watch our silly video up above!

Courtney Holmes

About Courtney Holmes

Courtney is Pixelkin's Associate Managing Editor. While working with the Girl Scouts of Northern California, she mentored young girls in teamwork, leadership, personal responsibility, and safety. Today, she spends her time studying adolescent development and using literary analysis techniques to examine video games.