News Article

Satoru Iwata Taking Over CEO Role of Nintendo of America

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Reggie Fils-Aime remains as President and COO

As part of its financial results today, Nintendo announced some musical chairs among the directors, with quite a few planning to retire this summer. One move interesting enough to prompt a press release of its own, however, is a high-level reorganisation within Nintendo of America, with Satoru Iwata taking on a more prominent role.

Tatsumi Kimishima, current chairman and CEO of Nintendo of America, is receiving a promotion to the role of general manager of Corporate Analysis and Administration, and general manager of the General Affairs Division; he's replacing two retiring directors at the main NCL HQ in Kyoto. What's more interesting is that a number of Kimishima's responsibilities will be taken on by company President Satoru Iwata, meaning he'll be working more directly with NoA President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. Nintendo's statement says the following.

Many of his current responsibilities, including the CEO title, will be assumed by Global President Satoru Iwata. The move will support the company’s unified global strategy, allow streamlined decision making and enhance Nintendo's organizational agility in the current competitive environment. Reggie Fils-Aime will continue in his role as president and COO of NOA, reporting to Iwata.

Of course we've seen Satoru Iwata and Reggie Fils-Aime teaming up at events such as E3, but this move certainly removes some of the middle-men between the two senior figures, and may lead to greater co-ordination between North America and Japan. With Western territories being identified as areas needing improved performance, meanwhile, perhaps this is Satoru Iwata taking an opportunity to oversee the NA division more closely.

It's a bit of a surprise re-shuffle in terms of Satoru Iwata taking on these responsibilities himself. So, what do you think of this news?

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User Comments (78)

Zach777

#2

Zach777 said:

Good now just stop speaking a bunch of hot air and start doing something to make your actions reflect your words.

Shiryu

#4

Shiryu said:

( •_•)>⌐■-■
I guess he is taking over...
(⌐■_■)
..."DIRECTLY"!

JSuede

#5

JSuede said:

I wouldn't be surprised if it is only for the interim period between CEO's, but I definitely see this as a good thing. It could be a permanent addition though seeing as many other positions have planned replacements already. It could possibly lead to better localization efforts and 3DS colors, maybe more direct contact with western 3rd parties.

@Zach777 That's a bit uncalled for, don't you think? He never promised anything, only said that there were plans in place. The launch of the Wii U was stellar, shifting more units and more software than either the PS3 or the 360, they had a Mario at release, which was a major issue for people with the 3DS launch.

The software drought that was "supposed" to be avoided came about because of things not under his control. He even said that they weren't going to release major titles in the early part of the year to give 3rd parties a chance to shine, it's just that the 3rd parties backstabbed Nintendo. EA cannibalized sales of ME3, pulled DLC support, refused to get Crysis 3 released (which would have made the drought half as long), and Ubisoft got scared/bullied into delaying Rayman into the fall.

Plans change and sometimes there is nothing you can do about it. Nintendo rarely gives hard launch dates or even quarter estimations for software because they ship a game when it's ready, not before then. Pikmin is a rare exception going from a long "launch window", to Q2 and finally confirmed release date in Q3.

LexKitteh

#7

LexKitteh said:

I feel this is great news. It can potentially help with shorter release times after Japan and maybe western studios like Retro and Next Level Games can be entrusted to make more games.

JSuede

#8

JSuede said:

@goldbricks23 Most likely just less time spent in Japan, probably 75% Japan, 25% US maybe 50-50. Not like he is giving up any responsibility or anything. It'll probably help out both sectors too in their own way.

Beta

#9

Beta said:

What about Europe? cries Don't let us be the only Iwata-less region! :'(

MAN1AC

#10

MAN1AC said:

This is good for localization. Maybe we'll finally get Dragon Quest in the states.

DualWielding

#11

DualWielding said:

If this somehow results in localization for Ace Attorney vs Professor Layton and Time Travelers I'll be happy

Stuffgamer1

#13

Stuffgamer1 said:

Part of a unified global strategy, huh? Does that mean he'll finally do something about the OBSCENE differences in release dates between regions for certain games? It's been almost a YEAR since Europe got Kirby's Dreamland 2 on 3DS VC (even longer for Japan), and America is STILL waiting! Similar story for Wario Land 3. If they take this seriously and improve on this kind of BS, it'll be a good move. If nothing really changes, I can't say I very much care about title shuffling.

Zombie_Barioth

#14

Zombie_Barioth said:

Sounds like a good idea to me, after all that means he'll have direct control over whats going on at NOA and shows that hes taking things more seriously. I really hope this means he'll have a better understanding of whats going on over here and actually DO something about it.

Spooky

#16

Spooky said:

Now I hope a similar thing happens in Europe, they could start acting like a single entity rather than 3 separate ones. Get rid of NUK and have everything operate directly out of Germany rather than having third parties all over the place.

sonicfan1373

#17

sonicfan1373 said:

This is good. Nintendo of Japan can now better communicate with Nintendo of America (assuming the change is approved at the investors meeting on June 27). Nintendo of America's previous CEO and chairman Tatsumi Kimishima seemed more like a middle man that slowed communication down.

XCWarrior

#18

XCWarrior said:

Looks like they are trying to save money, cut costs. Just as long as more games start coming over here and not just stay in Japan, I'll be happy.

ULTRA-64

#19

ULTRA-64 said:

Could be a good opportunity to bridge the east/west games culture gap of release dates, adult content, or even let relations grow with key western development in games wanted here but not in demand so much in Japan etc......or just be a different name on the door to an empty office!?!

V8_Ninja

#20

V8_Ninja said:

...I honestly have no idea how to react to this news. I've seen no indication of what Iwata would do differently than Reggie and what that would mean for Nintendo purchasers.

DestinyMan

#22

DestinyMan said:

This sounds like a good thing. Any effort to make Nintendo's regional divisions more orderly and connected is a good thing. I hope that with Iwata having more power over NOA, games will have better release dates. This also tells me that Iwata's not stepping down anytime soon.

gavn64

#23

gavn64 said:

Erm.. the guy's who run NINTENDO's foreign division's are always puppets serving there Japanese masters its always been like this, so this move doesn't really mean much Reggie is at best a spokesperson for NINTENDO always will be he has never had any real power im not criticizing him i agree with this model Iwata and myamoto are the idea guys but arent the best public orator's all Reggie is really for is E3 he is awesome.

datamonkey

#25

datamonkey said:

They should have given this role to Reggie and given him more freedom over his own market.

They need less hand-holding from NCL and the ability to go out and get some decent business like Howard Lincoln did in the 90's...

rjejr

#29

rjejr said:

Reggie finally pays the piper for his Super Smash Brothers Brawl E3 announcement date snafu, lie, gaffe, whatever you want to call it. ;-)

If this means games like Xenoblade Chronicles get a normal release rather than being a Gamestop exclusive I'm all for it.

ajcismo

#30

ajcismo said:

I'm hoping this brings about a little more unity between regions on the gaming front. Would love to see more Japanese games make their way here.

TheAdza

#32

TheAdza said:

We need the Japanese games released here. Western devs and publishers by and large don't want to support Nintendo's consoles. I hope that more come. I really do. I don't know if having Iwata as CEO is going to help that cause though.

HeatBombastic

#33

HeatBombastic said:

@JSuede Yeah, I was going to comment something like that. I remember when people started spelling gloom and doom for Nintendo, since Reggie broke his "promise" of a smooth launch window. It wasn't a promise, it was a prediction. Gamers aren't entitled to everything.

hydeks

#35

hydeks said:

awesome, so does this mean NA will finally get from love again from Nintendo? The last lil while with them has REALLY sucked here -_-

tsm7

#36

tsm7 said:

General Manager of General Affairs tackling the general issues of the company in general.

SpaceApe

#37

SpaceApe said:

Reggie gets a babysitter now because of how badly things are going with the Wii U. It can only help at this point in the game.

Gamer83

#40

Gamer83 said:

Good, NoA has been a complete joke lately. This should help massively, unlike others at NoA Iwata is likeable and seems like a hard worker. If nothing else this gives the company a more friendly image (Reggie is an arrogant jerk), hopefully it leads to more and better game releases as well.

Tasuki

#42

Tasuki said:

Interesting although I would have liked it if they got rid of Reggie.

Gamer83

#43

Gamer83 said:

@Tasuki

I don't like to see anybody lose their job but Reggie should've had his role reduced a while ago after some of the stupid decisions the last few years. He's been one of the biggest problems for Nintendo but for some reason the fanboys still love him.

Judah_83

#45

Judah_83 said:

Sounds good to me and it looks to make things more seamless. Maybe now when these so called doom and gloom western developers see that the Wii U is a brilliant console and profitable via the increase in games being released here that were previously japan only. 3rd parties will reconsider.

@Adza
You're absolutely right.

Morph

#46

Morph said:

Doubt things will change much to be honest, but from what I can see as a european, nintendo usa seems to be the weaker of the three branches (europe and japan).

Ive been impressed with nintendo europe in recent years, the rainfall titles, limites edition consoles, free game promotions, better advertising.

If shibata is behind these things then i think he's doing a god job, maybe america needs to catch up

JSuede

#47

JSuede said:

@SpaceApe Except Reggie is only the COO....but mostly a figurehead. Most of the big decisions would have been made by the guy who went back to Kyoto. He is really the one being watched....being sent home to his parents.Reggie is going to work closely with Iwata and really, the Wii U is selling the best in the US. Not saying Reggie is off the hook, but he wasn't as directly responsible as people think.

@Morph Yeah...NOA has really dropped the ball since 2006. The former CEO was able to let the Wii and DS coast on their popularity and didn't have to do anything, but now he doesn't have a clue on how to sell the 3DS or the Wii U. Look up our Wii U launch commercial....it's abysmal and does nothing to convey it's a new console and not an add-on. I feel like Europe and Japan had a fairly decent send off planned for the Wii and NOA refused to bring games over that were FIRST PARTY. That is just messed up. Good thing Operation Rainfall happened, otherwise this kind of shake up might not have.

Iwata has said that they plan to work closely with the developers to bring the titles over from Japan....and what better way to do that than be the person in charge of BOTH decisions? Our 3DS color choices are terrible so hopefully that changes too. He is responsible for literally all of the 3rd party Japanese support since the N64 (protip: there was none....at all), the 3DS turn around in Japan, snagging Dragon Quest and Monster Hunter as exclusives. Taking over the weakest branch of Nintendo is an incredibly smart move considering. He'll sit down with third parties, discuss what they want, offer solutions, compromises, collaborations (maybe license out Retro's gorgeous engine), and maybe even pay for a few exclusives with that war chest they are sitting on (that has increased even though they had an operating loss)

Dpullam

#48

Dpullam said:

I trust Satoru Iwata's ability to handle his new position effectively. He has made quite a few good decisions in the past and he will continue to do so in the future.

Pikminboy

#49

Pikminboy said:

@rjejr @HeatBombastic @SpaceApe @Tasuki
Some of you idiots blame reggie, but he receives orders he does not make decisions.
All the decisions are made in japan.
And the other ceo getting promoted means we will have more stuff from japan,more collaboration between reggie(america)-satoru iwata(japan), getting rid of reggie wont do anything but make things worst.

Tasuki

#53

Tasuki said:

@Pikminboy: The only idiot I see around here is you. I dont blame Reggie for anything I just dont think he is suited for Nintendo that is all.

Mulder1617

#54

Mulder1617 said:

I sure hope this change will help get games like Animal Crossing: New Leaf to North America faster instead of having to wait like 6 months.

Dreamcaster-X

#56

Dreamcaster-X said:

Maybe this will light a fire under NOA's headquarters!! They've had nothing but goofs lately. Delayed games, supply issues, their FB posts have confused many as well with the VC releases & the Spring firmware. It just feels like nobody is at the wheel over there! Iwata needs to smack some people around! = )

Blue-Thunder

#59

Blue-Thunder said:

There's trouble in the camp and I'd say the blame game is about to start. This looks really bad for Reggie but the man that needs to go is Satoru Iwata before he totally destroys Nintendo.

JellySplat

#61

JellySplat said:

Hopefully this means better rewards on Club Nintendo of America.
Which probably won't happen.

HaNks

#62

HaNks said:

@Pikminboy i know reggie is still around, it's just symbolic that Iwata will be more directly involved in running NoA. maybe he was all along? someone over there is out of touch with western markets, that's for sure.

TheXboxHero

#63

TheXboxHero said:

Im kinda nervous and anxious at the same time. What will Iwata do for NoA? What games will there be? What ads will there be? So many questions to ask!

ecco6t9

#64

ecco6t9 said:

I get the feeling that this will speed up North American releases, and fix some issues that the branch has had over the last 5 years.

Cevan

#65

Cevan said:

It does seem a tad strange at first, but I think this choice will pay off in the end. I'm looking forward to seeing how Iwata does as NoA President.

KAHN

#66

KAHN said:

maybe this'll help the localization. usually Japan gets something, US gets it a couple months later, Europe is lucky to get it at all, and Australia is lucky to even be remembered!

Zodiak13

#68

Zodiak13 said:

I feel like we won't see anything come of this change for a long while still.

ACK

#71

ACK said:

Good, NOA had been an embarrassment in recent years. Iwata clearly cares about great games. Reggie cares about marketing fluff. This is a promising turn of events, for sure.

Meaty-cheeky

#72

Meaty-cheeky said:

This is good news, a strong cooperation of Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Japan will only improve Nintendo over all, and a more efficient Nintendo should hopefully improve the amount of games that we desire by them releasing more Japanese games here in America with less delays and Vice versa.

Also lets hope this change in management will help the Wii U situation.

Capt_N

#73

Capt_N said:

@BestBuck123: Yeah, there's trouble in the camp, although I don't really know if Iwata is to blame, or Reggie. I also don't know, or currently think either party should go, but I really don't know at this time. I just don't like to see ppl lose their jobs.

ccanfield1

#75

ccanfield1 said:

I guess this move makes sense. Especially if Iwata is taking personal responsibility for next years financials (1) (2) I would want to make sure there was no one to blame for any failures but myself. By having more direct control over all of Nintendo's operations, he really is making it his personal commitment to meeting the financial goals they've established.

1. Iwata Implies That He Could Step Down Over Sluggish Sales Performance
Posted Thu, 31 Jan 2013 | 11:10 GMT by Damien McFerran
2. Feature: Nintendo's Financial Revelations and Hardware Strategies
Posted Wed, 24 Apr 2013 | 17:30 BST by Thomas Whitehead

Blue-Thunder

#76

Blue-Thunder said:

@Gamer83 I disagree. The company has changed direction since he took over and yeah the Wii was a massive success but this touch screen with the Wii U and not competing with Sony and MS on horsepower and even the type of games being produced is turning off a lot of core gamers. Nintendo don't even make core games anymore or hardly any. What will the Wii U's successor have? A vacuum cleaner and a flashlight attached to improve game-play? The old Nintendo (the one that ruled the world and made the best games in the world) was a far better company.

Ralizah

#78

Ralizah said:

So the guy becomes the CEO of the North American branch as well and immediately announces his plan to bring more Japanese third-party software to the West. I. Cannot. Wait.

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