Being this site as Nintendo business centric, I know readers and followers come to see what my take is on a new Nintendo console or a big new Nintendo game. In this case, it is the death of the CEO.
It is not a post I want to write.
However, we live in the cold reality of the world. In entertainment, the ‘show must go on’ and so, too, the ‘business must go on’. Some emailers have asked me to write things about Iwata, and I will do so. But Iwata’s death does bring up a huge ‘what happens to Nintendo now’ moment.
Nintendo’s reaction to this seems similar to ours: we are all shocked. We didn’t expect this. I don’t think Nintendo did either. When Steve Jobs died, Apple expected it. They already had a plan in place. In this case, there is no plan because I don’t believe it was expected.
A bigger issue for Nintendo is morale. The 3DS and Wii U were commercial disasters. Now their beloved president dies?
In the public statement Nintendo put out, note what it says at the bottom:
As a result, the following two Representative Directors remain at the company. Genyo Takeda (Representative Director; Senior Managing Director) Shigeru Miyamoto (Representative Director; Senior Managing Director)
There has to be a new CEO. There has to be someone who can correct the morale problems and win the trust of the investors. There is only one person at Nintendo I know who can do that.
I believe Miyamoto will become the next Nintendo president. First of all, Miyamoto wants to be president. He was kinda miffed that Iwata was chosen by Yamauchi instead of him. Yamauchi handpicked Iwata remember. They told Miyamoto that he was better off heading off creativity projects. This probably was true.
Also, Iwata was chosen by Yamauchi because there are no real candidates to pick. A business president has to know business and sales and not just be ‘creative’.
I suspect Miyamoto will be elevated as president and they may put a ‘corporate president’ or whoever to help aid him in the business side. Miyamoto may not want the position now and maybe others may not want him as president. But I see him best as filling in that role even just as a figurehead position because Miyamoto represents so much about Nintendo to investors, to the employees, and to gamers. Miyamoto would make a great ‘transitional’ CEO until Miyamoto ‘retires’ when they find someone.
If Miyamoto becomes president, I think the smarting of the 3DS and Wii U along with various games has given him some wisdom. Let’s hope so.
Then again, Nintendo could put someone else up. But the thing is… Iwata was chosen by Yamauchi in part because of Iwata’s youth. You need a younger person to fly around the world and give public presentations and all.
And I almost forgot: Iwata was also CEO of NOA too. That position must be filled as well.
Right now, the NX blueprint has been written, and Nintendo will follow it for the next half decade. But there has to be a CEO. It has to be filled soon too.
What’s going on at Nintendo now? Aside from the sadness, there are emergency meetings going on behind the scenes. What Nintendo does from here, we can only wait and see.