Satoru Iwata To Become Nintendo of America CEO

By Ishaan . April 24, 2013 . 12:45am

A few management changes are happening at Nintendo. Tatsumi Kimishima, the current chairman and CEO of Nintendo of America as well as one of the directors of Nintendo Co., Ltd., is being promoted to Nintendo’s managing director, pending shareholder approval.


Kimishima will be transferred from Nintendo of America in Redmond, Washington to Nintendo Co., Ltd. headquarters in Kyoto. In his new position, Kimishima will assume the roles of general manager of Corporate Analysis and Administration, and general manager of the General Affairs Division.


Both of the above positions are currently held by Yoshihiro Mori and Masaharu Matsumoto respectively, both of whom are retiring. Kimishima will assume his new duties in Kyoto later this Summer.


Prior to his current position at Nintendo of America, Kimishima was named president of Pokémon USA in 2001. He then became president of NOA in 2002. Several of his current responsibilities, including the CEO title, will be assumed by Nintendo’s global president, Satoru Iwata. Meanwhile, Reggie Fils-Aime will continue in his role as president and COO of NOA, reporting to Iwata.


The move is meant to “support the company’s unified global strategy, allow streamlined decision making and enhance Nintendo’s organizational agility in the current competitive environment.”


Pictured above: Tatsumi Kimishima. Image courtesy Nintendo.


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  • This is good. Iwata having more of a direct hand in NOA is what this company needs right now. Nintendo can be a little too Japan-focused for their own good.

    • ForteWily

      I don’t think that this change will be the thing that directs Nintendo’s focus from it’s Japan efforts. But that said, Iwata is much more direct in his handling of the company… which will be a welcome change in NOA.

    • Skyer Ist

      You are absolutely right!

  • malek86

    Interesting idea, but at the same time, it means they are feeling the pressure. Iwata must have noticed long ago that western sales aren’t picking up as well as japanese ones… but I’m not sure what he intends to do to rectify that.

    More collaborations with western developers would be nice. As of now, there aren’t many western devs making games for either 3DS or Wii U.

    • It is rather odd that they don’t collaborate more with western developers. They have their staples like Next Level Games (Punch-Out, Luigi’s Mansion) and Monster Games (PilotWings, DKCR3D), but those are really the only two.

      Nintendo do need more games targeted specifically at the west, especially for Wii U sales to increase. That said, we don’t know if Iwata becoming NOA’s CEO means that NOA will now have more autonomy or more of a role in the company’s software development. I would hope it does.

      • malek86

        If I were Iwata, I would at least try and push for Wii U versions of upcoming games. Late ports are no good, nobody will buy Arkham City at full price one year later. But if the Wii U were to have, let’s say for example, Dark Souls 2 and GTA5 together with the other versions, it would become a lot more compelling. Granted, not that much because you can still buy them on PS3/360 which are also cheaper. But at least some new buyer could take the console into consideration (and then Nintendo could push on the extra Gamepad features to give it a small edge).

        That would also increase software sales a bit, which in turn would make more devs choose to port their games. But in the beginning, Nintendo must take action themselves. If people don’t wanna make Wii U versions, finance them with your own money, at least for the bigger titles. Dunno if you have noticed, but at this point even the PSV is getting more multiplatform games than the Wii U.

        As for the 3DS, japanese games will probably be enough for now. But I think it would help if they opened up more to indies (right now Sony is getting all of them), because it would also increase awareness of their digital service.

        • I agree, they would do well to offer any and all assistance they can to get current/upcoming games onto Wii U, but I think it’s even more important to secure Wii U exclusives at this point.

          There are enough PS3/360 owners out there that they don’t need a a Wii U to play the games they can already play on those consoles. From that perspective, what Wii U needs are exclusives to compete against PS4/Xbox, and I think Nintendo recognize this very well, since they’re already collaborating with so many third-parties on exclusive Wii U games.

          The trick is making those games count. Putting them out in a timely manner, giving them strong marketing pushes, making sure you’re targeting the right kind of consumer for each game. Basically, maximizing the potential of each game. They’ve done a good job of this on 3DS. Now they need to do it with Wii U.

          And yes, they do need a major western-developed game to help capture that GTA/CoD audience that has eluded them.

          • malek86

            Unfortunately that might be close to impossible. Sony and MS tried to get a few exclusives in the beginning, but later on they just gave up because very few devs (aside from smaller japanese ones) were willing to make non-multiplatform games anymore. That’s also why Sony ramped up their first-party production, because that’s pretty much the only way to get exclusives today.

            Nintendo has a great first-party development power, but they are always attracting the same audience, pretty much. Announcing multiple Yoshi’s Islands and Zeldas isn’t going to get many new console buyers, it’s a way to get more software sales. But to increase hardware sales they need third party devs now.

            Collaborations might be extremely difficult at this point. With the new consoles coming out and getting pushed more than the current ones, and likely costing more than the Wii U as well, having multiplatform could be extremely important.

          • Sony and MS tried to get a few exclusives in the beginning, but later on they just gave up because very few devs (aside from smaller japanese ones) were willing to make non-multiplatform games anymore.

            I think that’s why they’re doing collaborative stuff like SMT X FE and Bayonetta 2. To attract a “non-Nintendo” audience. As you said, collaborations are going to be the only viable way of getting exclusives this generation. I don’t see them giving up on this front because pursuing collaborations is far more viable and effective than trying to spend money on multiplatform support. The latter is more of a headache and brings far less returns.

          • malek86

            In that case, they gotta do better than SMT x FE and Bayonetta 2. Those aren’t really going to drive many sales.

          • Agreed. They need a big western-focused hit if they want to see big sales in the U.S. Metroid Prime is the closest they’ve ever come.

          • As true as this is, they always have Super Smash Bros. as their ace in the hole.

          • I honestly have to wonder if that game will do as well as Brawl. I guess we’ll see.

          • Probably not AS well (the feverish anticipation for the sequel to SSB Melee and the Wii mania of 2006-early 2008 were pretty much one-time things) but I’ll be shocked if it isn’t a significant system-seller. I’d be equally shocked if Nintendo doesn’t go all-out in pushing it as such.

          • I agree that they need a major Western-developed game for the Wii U, but I’m skeptical that they’ll ever capture the “GTA/CoD audience”; many of those people dismiss Nintendo out of hand, or are only interested in Mario, Zelda and Pokemon. They will never win over Microsoft’s audience of shooter-playing frat boys; that demographic has been lost to them since the end of the N64, and the raw graphical power and robust online features that they value are not Nintendo’s strong point. They can still win over more Western gamers than they are, I think, but they’ll have to keep their expectations realistic.

          • I’m skeptical, too. Nintendo seem interested in every kind of game and genre, with the sole of exception of action games (shooters) targeted at the West. There could be a variety of reasons for this, but ultimately I think it’s a mistake to ignore it. Nintendo have stellar first-party studios that could be very competitive in that area if only they tried, and the GTA/CoD crowd is precisely the kind that likes putting money down for the kinds of “gamer games” Nintendo likes to develop.

          • puchinri

            I think the problem lies with the mentality of some of the people of that crowd. I don’t know if it’s just a vocal minority, a 50/50 split or even a majority, but some of them are people that pretty much actively crap on Nintendo (for any variety of silly reasons).

            If it’s someone in that crowd that doesn’t care, chances are, they’re already someone who is part of Nintendo’s audience (people like my sister and a guy I know from Gamestop come to mind), and then there are probably the ones that Nintendo could still reach if they tried a bit harder. It’s hard to say what should be done to pull them in though, I think. (I mean, what specifically, like title-wise.)

          • I think part of the reason is that the audience you’re talking about feels like they’re being rejected. Like, here’s this amazing company that puts out hit after hit, and is clearly capable of making stellar games, but they never make anything “for you”. That leads to a lot of bitterness and a lot of the “Nintendo = kiddy” sentiment. People on the Internet are just terrible at articulating themselves.

          • puchinri

            That’s an interesting way to look at it. I never considered that. I kind of just felt like certain people in the media built up a particular attitude and it kind of flowed to others.

            Heh. Now I have this kind of sad but funny image in my head of them as bitter step-children or something. I’m going to keep that perspective in mind though.

      • I kinda wonder whether Nintendo is wary of collaborating with Western devs after being burned by Rare and Silicon Knights. They have Retro Studios, but that has almost no autonomy compared to their previous Western collaborators. They really should look into another collaboration like that, because as you say they really need to work harder at appealing to Western gamers outside of their steadfast first-party lineup.

      • Given the fact there are more Wii U consoles out in America at the moment I think thats a pretty wise plan of action, but rather than try and stylize it as a western approach I think they should simply focus their efforts in a more piercing method.

  • puchinri

    Huh. Sounds apt and logical to me. I wonder how much this will impact, and in what ways~? I can’t see any bad coming of it though.

  • $36598391

    Great maybe NA will get Fatal frame II Wii, Fatal Frame IV and Fire Emblem DS2 now

    • I… highly doubt that. Their focus should be on games to move their newer systems, not their older ones.

      • $36598391

        Nintendo better release Shadow Dragon and Hero of Light and Shadow together on 3DS cart then

        • yomachaser

          What are those?

          • $36598391

            Fire Emblem

        • why would they do that…?

          • $36598391

            You obviously have not played Shadow Dragon yet
            It’s a remake of the first Fire Emblem

          • I have very much played and completed both Shadow Dragon and Heroes of Light and Shadow thank you very much. I’m sure not everyone who played both games are in agreement with you so yeah don’t assume I didn’t play the game because I disagree with you.

    • Brandonmkii

      The boat has sailed on those games.

      • $36598391

        no it has not… one of the publishing companies will manage to bring them over

        • $36598391

          You people who keep voting down comments are the reason These games aren’t being released over here because there arent’t enough people shoving demands down Nintendo of America’s throats

          • But Nintendo doesn’t go to this site and do forecasts based on Siliconera Comment Down-votes. Of course, I could be wrong…

          • $36598391

            what i meant by downvoting was people doing it to posts for no reason

          • M’iau M’iaut

            Please calm down. The reason these games were not released has nothing to do with a handful of down votes. Shoving demands at anyone does not make things happen either.

          • $36598391

            I appologize, but what i meant was all of the downvotes are coming from people who do not want NA to get these games

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    this is great News indeed Congrats Satoru

  • ギャビン

    Please put out Fatal Frame 4 & the Wii remake of crimson butterfly in the states.

    • Ethan_Twain

      See, the reason Mr. Iwata is getting this job is because he’s GOOD at business. Which means he won’t be investing in releasing a pair of survival horror games for the Wii.

      • $36598391

        despite the fact that the two have been repeatedly asked for
        also the Wii remake of Crimson Butterfly was released in the UK so it’s already in English
        Xseed got ahold of The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower from Nintendo and they brought over two of the corpse party games so they have experience working with horror games

        • DesmaX

          … You do know that Xseed only brough those because they took advantage of the Operation Rainfall hype on these games?

          • $36598391

            Nope, Xseed had their eyes on those two before that

          • DesmaX

            You know other game Xseed has their eyes on? Trails in the Sky SC.

            “Being interessed in localizing” and “That game will sell well if it’s localized” are way different things

          • M’iau M’iaut

            The Operation Rainfall games had been pretty well announced before. Xenoblade was on AMZN from launch of the Wii. Last Story had been ‘we can’t talk about Last Story’ for quite a time too. Pandora’s may have always been the one a bit behind, but even that one showed evidence of something being planned.

          • DesmaX

            Hm… My bad, then.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            I’m not saying there isn’t good in getting folks focused and excited in a positive way, Just that the excitement wasn’t solely the reason we can now play them in the states.

          • $36598391

            Second Chapter PSP had a fair bit of problems like psp not handling disc swapping very well

  • ( `Д´)ノ)`ν゜)

    General manager of the General Affairs division

  • XypherCode

    I can’t even imagine what Iwata’s salary income would be like! O_O

    • Herok♞

      it will be huge but he will be willing to take paycut if they mess up instead of hurting the other employees.

  • CirnoLakes

    I sadly don’t know enough about Tatsumi Kimishima’s decision-making to know what might change at all if anything.

    But Satoru Iwata certainly seems very personable. I enjoy watching his videos discussing Nintendo content. It is at least hard to doubt someone so personable. So… best wishes and hoping for the best?

    Somewhat what this feels like, is a further solidification of the Iwata and Reggie tag team.

  • Steven Higgins

    I hope this means we will start getting more games localized, from both Nintendo and third party developers. I don’t know the logistics but I hope they can work something like that out.

    • J_Joestar

      Hopefully, Bravely Default is already a good start.

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    If this strategy will allow Nintendo trying to come out with some game with western view too, i will more than happy here.^_^
    (I am not saying i am hating the current Nintendo here considering tons of their games is still great till now however, they should also try to come out with some new IP’s like the old Donkey Kong here which is more relevant to the west.)

  • Good move. We may get an upgrade for Club Nintendo down the road. Or I hope so. Love Iwata.

  • SirRichard

    Making some interesting moves lately, they are. No doubt Iwata intends to try and bring the regional branches closer together in terms of co-ordination, but I guess we’ll see if this’ll have any noticeable effects.

  • idrawrobots

    I think this is a great move. I have never seen that other guy before. What was he even doing?

    • NimbusStev

      Yeah seriously. He wasn’t a very good face of the company considering most gamers didn’t even know who he was. Iwata will be a much better fit for this position.

  • AuraGuyChris

    Congrats, Iwata.
    You’re even closer to complete world domination now!

  • If this means greater uniformity in terms of software lineups and release schedules between Nintendo’s Japanese and US branches, then I’m all for it.

  • Warboss Aohd

    well i guess we shall see wot changez soon.

  • PinkKat

    Its a mixed bag. Nin needs to localize more…. putting another outsider at the helm even if he works magic back in JP isnt the way todo it.

    HOWEVER, Aslong as its not reggie…I have no issues. Dunno about rest of you but his over optimistic attitude and everything just annoys me

  • Solomon_Kano

    Congratulations to Iwata. I look forward to seeing exactly what kind of impact this has. Iwata’s spoken at length on how they could be doing better in the US than they are, so I’m looking forward to what he’s got planned to facilitate this improvement.

  • I guess this is a way to combat losses now that Iwata can survey the poor sales figures in North America closely and study the market hands on. On top of that, more localizations, Iwata won’t be as stubborn as the last guy when Xenoblade 2 comes out.

    • Solomon_Kano

      Well, the next Xeno’s already been announced globally, so no worries there.

  • if it was eralier who knows, maybe they wouldn’t have turned Birdo into a man for US back then

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