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Discussion Satoru Iwata as a "gamer at heart" - how much does it hold weight?

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MagiCarbo

Bob-omb
I know the title of this thread might be a bit controversial, but hear me out.

The late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata tragically passed away on July 11th, 2015. Mr. Iwata was a legendary figure in the gaming industry. Helping to develop and rescue countless fan-favorite games, led Nintendo into one of its most creatively and financially successful periods after years of struggling with the Nintendo DS and Wii, and opened up Nintendo's famously secretive development process with his famous Iwata Asks interviews.

During his March 2005 GDC Speech, Iwata began with the now famous quote

"On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer."

It was that last part, being a gamer at heart that was both very accurate, yet also called into question a number of times during his presidency. Iwata was a guy who clearly loved games, spending most of his career making games, playing games, and marketing games, he obviously knew a lot about what goes into them as a medium. However for someone who considered himself a gamer at heart, Nintendo under Iwata was sometimes accused of avoiding things "real" gamers considered important. Things like competitive graphics, deep online experiences, having the latest AAA third party games, powerful western studios, mature themes and content. Instead focusing on "surperfluous" things like gimmicks, casuals and family-friendly games.

Now what you consider to be important as a gamer may vary, but there were/are areas Nintendo is percieved to be lagging behind in compared to the other two console makers. During the Wii U days, many people were practically begging Nintendo to make a normal ass console with powerful, competitive specs to its competitors with a traditional controller, and a robust online experience so that they could get all the biggest third party games Wii U was missing out on. Given the general failure of the Wii U, it's hard not understand the concerns. Clearly something wasn't working, so gamers had every right to question whether Nintendo's Blue-Ocean strategy was the right direction in the long term.

There's also this dumb stereotype that Iwata "Stripped Nintendo of America of decision making power" in regards to things like development and third party relations. A narrative that's never really had any strong basis or evidence to support it beyond the mass exodus of N64-era employees when the GameCube launched. Considering how dominant western developers became in the seventh generation, this was also a percieved weakness.

I don't think Iwata's problem was not giving gamers what they wanted. Rather, I think its more so his main weakness was lack of forsight. What many people never really realized about Iwata was that he was very much an "in-the-moment" kind of leader. His programing background meant he was phenomenal at determing what a brand or product needs to be at that exact moment in time. Where I think he struggled, particularly in terms of being Nintendo president, was determining what Nintendo needed to be say, ten years from now, or even five years from now.

The Wii for example, very much encapsulates all of Iwata's strengths and weaknesses in one generation. It a bold, groundbreaking platform that made a ton of sense back in 2006. forging the then expensive HD technology in favor of low-cost platform that had a groundbreaking new way to play for both gamers and developers. For its first few years, Nintendo pretty much delivered on nearly every promise they made in its reveal, expanding the gaming audience with fun simple titles like Wii Sports, while providing existing gamers with new enteries in fan favorite franchises like Mario, Zelda, Metroid Prime, Batalion Wars with a new way to play them. It's downfall came when HD TVs and the costs to make games in HD both started to come down in price, Nintendo's resources being spread too thin and too frontloaded leading to only Wii Music as its big 2008 holiday title, the rise of smartphones luring away casual and non-gamers, as well as Sony and especially Microsoft offering up their own motion controls with Kinect and PS Move.

The flawed premise and underwheliming life of the Wii U showed very much how little Nintendo and Iwata did to prepare for the future as it was plagued with droughts of games due to Nintendo not preparing for HD development sooner, had non-existant third party support due to its poor sales and outdated archetecture, and was straddled with a gimmick that even Nintendo didn't know how to properly utilize.

That being said, I think Iwata still very much cared about gaming as a medium and what gamers wanted even at his weakest points. He was always willing to challenge conventional wisdom of what a video game and what a video game platform should be by focusing on novel innovations that change how games can be played, rather than just more power and graphics. For what its worth, the the success of the Nintendo Switch I think very much vindicates Iwata's approach to the industry given it was the last console he had any signifigant involvement in before his death.
 
Nintendo under Iwata was sometimes accused of avoiding things "real" gamers considered important.
The quotes say it all

idk, do you think 99.9% of "gamers" could run Nintendo better than he did? Run it into the ground maybe. One has nothing to do with the other
 
i really don't think we should do a reevaluation of a genuinely good person who has passed on
 
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Not even sure what you are trying to say
What I'm saying is some gamers during the Wii U generation accused Nintendo and Iwata of being out of touch with what gamers want out of a game console (power, online, third parties, etc.) for the initial talk of being a gamer at heart. Of course, I always felt a lot of these complaints were a bit silly. But given how poorly the Wii U was doing at the time, it was hard to blame them.
 
What I'm saying is some gamers during the Wii U generation accused Nintendo and Iwata of being out of touch with what gamers want out of a game console (power, online, third parties, etc.) for the initial talk of being a gamer at heart. Of course, I always felt a lot of these complaints were a bit silly. But given how poorly the Wii U was doing at the time, it was hard to blame them.
No no it was super easy to blame them
 
Lile reggie once told, gamers doesnt know what they want. Anyway, its clear that iwate did give gamers what they wanted. Sales say so. The wii u was also clearly the righ direction based on switch.

The thing is that gaming hardware needq to envolve. And thats exactly what nintendo do. And most of the time, it became traditional somehow. Analogsticks, dpad, l and r, backtrigger, motion controls (console and vr), portable console ...

But also things like switch.
How many jump on the portal wagon becaude of it.

Software wise, wii had a lot of good games, so did wii u first party which is way better than gamecube (just comare the list). The same for ds and 3ds software.
 
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Nintendo under Iwata was sometimes accused of avoiding things "real" gamers considered important. Things like competitive graphics, deep online experiences, having the latest AAA third party games, powerful western studios, mature themes and content.
So Iwata avoided all the things I don't consider important. No wonder I liked the guy. 😅
Instead focusing on "surperfluous" things like making really good games.
Fixed
 
I cannot even begin to understand why you’d try to connect Iwata’s gaming credentials to his business acumen. This is such a forced framing and deeply weird way to talk about a dead person.
 
I don't think pretending that gamers know their ass from the elbow while insulting Iwata is the way to go.

Over the Wii U? Really?
 
Your problem is to consider gamers only people who go on online forums to express their frequently absurd opinions.
Yep. The framing of the OP is inherently fallacious by comparing what Iwata meant by “being a gamer at heart” to online power-chasers.
 
lmao buddy what

“he CLAIMED to be a gamer at heart but by the worst possible definition of gamer he was a shill and coward — can YOU believe he would sully the good name of gamers everywhere?!”

it’s like y’all forget words mean things sometimes I swear to fuck
 
Thread locked at OP’s request. -xghost777, Party Sklar, Dardan Sandiego
 
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