Hiroshi Yamauchi was the President of Nintendo Co. Ltd.
for more than fifty years. During his reign, he transitioned the company from a playing card manufacturer into one of the world's leading video game hardware and software developers. Initially, Yamauchi championed creating arcade games while he set his eyes on expanding to the lucrative American market. Of course, Nintendo would enjoy enormous success with several arcade games, especially the classic Donkey Kong
. However, the most important move Yamauchi made during this time was discovery of the young designer of Donkey Kong, Shigeru Miyamoto
After the success of several large arcade titles, Nintendo's prospects seemed bright. However, the video game industry crashed in 1983 and the production of games slowed down significantly. Despite evidence to the contrary, Yamauchi was convinced that video games could still prove to be a strong industry. It was his particular style of business leadership that would spearhead the revamping of the video game business model. Yamauchi attributed much of the failures on the part of Atari, especially their very relaxed (and constantly partying) executives.
Taking enormous risks to produce the Famicom ( Nintendo Entertainment System
in the United States), Yamauchi is credited for helping start the rebirth of the video game industry after the disastrous collapse of the early 1980s.
Yamauchi's successes in building Nintendo into a video game industry powerhouse were marred by some decisions made during and after the SNES
era of the early to mid-1990s. After halting the development of a CD-format add-on for the SNES that had been in development in conjunction with Sony, the scorned Sony went on to develop and release the first PlayStation
. It was also ultimately Yamauchi's decision to continue use of the cartridge format for the Nintendo 64
, leading some very high profile developers such as Squaresoft
to abandon development for Nintendo hardware and move to Sony's platform and its CD-ROM media.
After spending half a century at the helm of Nintendo, Yamauchi stepped down from his position as company president. His successor was Satoru Iwata
. Under Iwata's leadership, the company has continued the development of highly successful video game hardware and software and has generally promoted a more outwardly relaxed picture of the company in contrast to Yamauchi's more hard line management methods.
- On Leaving Nintendo: "Coincidental to my leaving the company, I would like to make one request: that Nintendo give birth to wholly new ideas and create hardware which reflects that ideal. And make software that adheres to that same standard. Furthermore, this software should attract consumers as new and interesting. Lastly, and of equal importance, is completing these products quickly and at a cost comparable to today's current market. I imagine most people question the feasibility of my request, but Nintendo has always pursued those objectives. I'd ask that the company continue to follow this goal as my final and only request to the new management staff. I can't say what these new types of software will be, but I'm sure they'll release it during my lifetime."
- "[RPG players] are depressed gamers who like to sit alone in their dark rooms and play slow games."
- "I have been saying this for some time, but customers are not interested in grand games with higher-quality graphics and sound and epic stories. Only people who do not know the video game business would advocate the release of next-generation machines when people are not interested in cutting-edge technologies."
- Comments on Microsoft:"There are many people in the industry that know nothing about games. In particular, a large American company is trying to do engulf software houses with money, but I don't believe that will go well. It looks like they'll sell their game system next year, but we'll see the answer to that the following year."