The 24 Most Influential People in the Games Industry Today

Satoru Iwata

The 24 Most Influential People in the Games Industry TodaySATORU IWATA
Position: President and CEO, Nintendo
Debuted with: Super Billiards
Currently working on: Making the 3DS “the next big thing”

For the first 113 years of its existence, Nintendo was a family run business. But when the 53-year-long reigning president Hiroshi Yamauchi stepped down in 2002, he bucked the trend by breaking the family line and appointing HAL Laboratory president Satoru Iwata as his successor. And the risk paid dividends. As a seasoned game designer, as well as latter day businessman, Iwata was well placed to take the struggling Nintendo into a new age of creativity and was instrumental in shifting its focus back toward the playfulness that defined its toy manufacturing era of the sixties and seventies. Wii and DS, both released under his watch, have practically redefined what videogames can be, and have sent ripples through both Sony and Microsoft.

In recent years Iwata has also unexpectedly fashioned himself into the world’s greatest games journalist. His series of Iwata Asks articles on nintendo.com are so much more than just promotional puff pieces. They delve deep into the history of Nintendo, unearthing previously undiscovered truths that shed new light on classic games we used to believe had nothing left to teach us. If only every major developer was as publicly open about its history.