Nintendo Takes a New President to "Strengthen the Company"

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Steve Anderson
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Nintendo Takes a New President to "Strengthen the Company"

It's been just over two months since the death of Satoru Iwata, and now, word has emerged that the white smoke has gone up on a new president for Nintendo, so to speak. The new president of Nintendo is Tatsumi Kimishima, and Kimishima takes charge of a reorganized Nintendo.

The company launched its reorganization in a bid to "strengthen and enhance the management structure of the company," and thanks to that move, Kimishima will represent the fifth president Nintendo has ever known. Kimishima comes from the Japanese banking industry, where he spent 27 years before making the jump to video games in December 2000. He then become chief financial officer of The Pokemon Company, and was actually president of Nintendo of America in January 2002. He was then made CEO and chairman as Reggie Fils-Aime took over as president in May 2006.

One of the biggest question markets about Kimishima's upcoming tenure, meanwhile, is if he will prove to be as public-facing as Iwata was. Iwata not only took on various speaking roles, but also stepped in on the Nintendo Direct presentations, along with a set of question and answer segments known as "Iwata Asks."

Perhaps the second largest question is how Kimishima will react to the current Nintendo environment, marked with declining sales, a loss of face with gamers, and new hardware that's still several months out from even being discussed, let alone released.

A Bloomberg analyst offered up some comment on this move, noting that Kimishima was regarded as an "orthodox choice," which in turn suggested that "...the company is choosing to stay the course."  Given Nintendo's current course, that may well be the worst idea that could have happened.

But then, there's another way to look at it. Maybe Nintendo has a greater plan in mind, and what it needs is someone who won't go off half-cocked, attempting to innovate a way out when in reality it's just waiting to pounce on the market in the future. That makes the guy from finance a very likely suggest for overall command of the company, and Nintendo may well have a great long term plan here.

But it's also clear that Nintendo needs some kind of plan. It's a disaster right now; it's a distant third in the console wars, sales are stagnating, third party support is best described as "skimpy" and the pipeline for game releases is looking thin, a development that might well make for an unhappy user base.

There's a lot facing Kimishima in the weeks ahead, and seeing how he reacts to the conditions should prove compelling. But there's a lot that could go wrong here, and it's his watch now.

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