Hiroshi Yamauchi, ex-Nintendo president, has died aged 85, Nintendo has confirmed.
Yamauchi was president of Nintendo for 53 years (from 1949 to 2002), and was the man in charge when the company first entered the video game market. He joined the company when its primary business was trading cards and utilized Shigeru Miyamoto’s Donkey Kong to find success in the coin-op market in the 80s.
He also oversaw Nintendo’s entry into the home console market with the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System (Famicom in Japan). Yamauchi stepped down as president in May 2002, but retained close ties with the company.
Nintendo issued the following statement: “Nintendo is in mourning today from the sad loss of the former Nintendo president Mr Hiroshi Yamauchi, who sadly passed away this morning.”
“Hiroshi Yamauchi transformed a run-of the-mill trading card company into an entertainment empire in video games,” Ian Livingstone, co-founder of Games Workshop, told the BBC. “He understood the social value of play, and economic potential of electronic gaming. Most importantly he steered Nintendo on its own course and was unconcerned by the actions of his competitors. He was a true visionary.”