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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Better Nintendo CEO?


Better Nintendo CEO?

Satoru Iwata 35 71.43%
Hiroshi Yamauchi 14 28.57%

Which one do you think led Nintendo better overall?

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He presided over the most successful generation any console manufacturer has ever had with the Wii + DS, over 250 million systems sold in a single gen, and he set in motion the current meteoric success of the Switch.

Last edited by curl-6 - on 12 July 2020

Bet with Liquidlaser: I say PS5 and Xbox Series will sell more than 56 million combined by the end of 2023.

Thats a tough one.

Iwata was a very likable person. He was a gamer, developer and he was more fair to third party companies.

Yamauchi was the one who got Nintendo into video games in the first place. Without him there might not have been a Nintendo as we know them today.

I really dont know. I think Iwata was the better CEO overall, but Yamauchi was the most important one.

As competent and likable as Iwata was, my vote goes for Yamauchi. He presided over the best periods in Nintendo history IMO and Im unsure how Nintendo and the gaming landscape overall would be without his leadership those early years, but I doubt they'd be as good as they currently are.

Iwata, easily.
The DS, the Wii, and the Switch as his legacy - these are Nintendo's three most successful consoles of all time. And this direction can be directly linked to him while Wii U I attribute more to Shigeru Miyamoto's influence since the console did not resemble Iwata's descriptions of what Nintendo's next console should be, but mirrored Miyamoto's exactly. Although, the 3DS, which was also somewhat of a failure, fit things Iwata was interested in (like 3D).

Crediting Yamauchi with getting Nintendo into the video game industry is not really accurate: Gunpei Yokoi, a toy and game (table top games and such) inventor working for Nintendo, got the idea for video games and is the one who actually first moved Nintendo in that direction. Yokoi is also the one who put Nintendo's first development teams together. Speaking of Gunpei Yokoi, the Wii, the DS, and the Switch are all part of his legacy as well, since those products were all designed with his philosophy in mind for getting a perfect product for Nintendo's execution of the blue ocean strategy - which is kind of Iwata's input - in creating a product for a market segment that is undeserved either in large part or completely.

Yamauchi also did a lot more to hold Nintendo back in the N64 and Gamecube dark ages. Doing his very best to insult as many second and third parties as possible, and fans. Had he NOT been CEO of Nintendo, had it been Takeda or someone else, I feel the company would have been better off.

Iwata, on the other hand, had a great mind for the video game industry, he wasn't just some guy sitting in a chair signing corporate cheques, carousing with other wealthy Japanese business elite, and buying boats and sports teams. Iwata was actually a thinker, someone who intended to fix Nintendo's problems, and he did, even in the light of overwhelming competition, he found a way to win.

I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.

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It is a tie, for me

One got Nintendo into game, one got them to a new level of innovation.

However neither has managed to maintain a solid relationship with the major 3rd party publishers. Yes I get it EA games, Activision, Ubisoft, 2K etc are not always revolutionary when it comes to making new games and are more known for rehashing material, but the fact is their franchises are mainstream and should be on a Nintendo console that is comparable to what other systems have, or at least up to the capabilities of the Nintendo hardware.

As for 3rd party indy? couldn't care less as most do not get physical releases, this is something Nintendo should also help out to get more sales and hep to these emerging developers.

Whatever future CEO manages to convince 3rd parties to actually try making a solid release will have my vote lol.



They were of equal importance, two great men. Nintendo wouldn’t be what they are without either of them. I can’t really choose, personally the very best games were made while Yamauchi was CEO, but that’s more because of the work of people like Miyamoto in those years. Iwata brought Nintendo to unprecedented heights and returned it to its former glory, but that doesn’t really affect me personally. There is one thing that does though. Iwata was very likeable, and he communicated with us as fans personally and in the persona of a fan himself. For that I’ll have to pick Iwata in this poll.

This is like picking between 2 flavors of ice cream.  There are no wrong answers.  Both of these guys are heroes to me.

If I have to pick though, I'll say Iwata.  Yamauchi was a pioneer, and the NES was my favorite console.  Objectively, the NES has all of the games that you'd really want to play for Generation 3 anyway (or at least 99% of the games), and so many of the games were really innovative.  I doubt another console this glorious will ever be made.  However, Iwata was also brilliant and the DS, Wii and Switch are the 3 most innovative systems of the 21st century.  But the reason I'd have to give it to Iwata is that he was humble and Yamauchi was arrogant.  So personally, I have a bit more respect for Iwata, but I really admire the contributions both men have made to gaming.

Satoru Iwata was not only Nintendo's greatest leader, he was (IMO) the worlds greatest. I wish more people were like him.


Tough to say.. Yamauchi seemed to be the more conservative, no-nonsense leader that helped establish Nintendo as a dominant force and largely keep them on that path in a steady manner. Yet, Iwata had more of a free-and-loose and creative sense coming from the background as a game designer, contributing greatly to their renaissance with the Wii, DS, and the early phases of Switch too I believe. Ultimately I suppose Iwata would get a slight edge, as Yamauchi, while he was a prominent and level-headed CEO, was less flexible and able (or at least less willing) to adapt to changing markets and try new things. 


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