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Gaming Executives Should Look To Nintendo's Satoru Iwata For Exemplary Leadership

Posted on Monday, November 4 @ 17:30:00 PST by

Although he's sometimes prone to silly appearances in the company's Nintendo Direct videos, President Satoru Iwata maintains a firm grasp of Nintendo's business no matter how many hands try to steer the house Mario plumbed to mobile platforms or a software-only future.

Despite selling just 460,000 Wii U consoles worldwide in the six months ending in September, Iwata pushed back against questions about the company's future in creating video game hardware.

Once results of Wii U's 2013 holiday come in, Iwata has said that executives will gather to review "what the company needs to do, over the long-term, about its platform," but that doesn't mean Iwata is jumping the gun.

Many might call for Super Mario and Zelda games to appear on platforms other than those emblazoned with the Nintendo name, but frankly Iwata's poise and levelheadedness should serve as an example to other gaming executives everywhere, leaders like EA's new CEO Andrew Wilson.

Previously, EA bet big on expansions and gobbled up countless independent development studios. For what? Because the share holders wanted profits to impossibly continue to rise after the PS2 generation when EA made big returns on the backs of working with independent studios?

And what happened to those studios once under the EA brand? They were shuttered, EA couldn't run them all efficiently enough, and ultimately the stock price has been stuck nowhere near it's prime. The point is, don't spread yourself too thin.

In Nintendo's example, not only would publishing Mario games on Apple mobile devices weaken console hardware prospects, it'd set a dangerous precedent for all of Nintendo's successful software brands. There'd be an expectation that Mario games would make it to iPhone or that all Nintendo games should be less than a dollar or even free to play.

Soon, consumers who might just be waiting for their favorite Nintendo franchise to appear on Wii U would continue to ignore the console in hopes that "it'll eventually come to PlayStation" or that their Mario iOS Endless Goomba Stomper will fill the void.

Releasing software on anything other than Nintendo hardware would weaken the brand and prepare it to eventually dissolve (probably many, many years later). Your company doesn't last for over 100 years as Nintendo has without a sense of futurism, without a sense of the past, and without a strong leader at the wheel.

And if you're still wondering why Iwata exemplifies executive leadership in turbulant times at Nintendo, look no further than his reaction to poor 3DS sales two years ago. While many CEOs would be happy to slash jobs in order to save their own hide in the face of angry investors, Iwata took a pay cut and refused to lay off his workers. 

Besides, Nintendo has two new Wii U Bundles for Holiday 2013 shoppers to snap up in the absence of any remaining PlayStation 4 or Xbox One stock. When shoppers see a cheaper machine that comes with a family-friendly Mario game or the much buzzed-about Skylanders brand, the console should fly off the shelves.

Will it be enough to make up for Wii U's less than stellar performance in 2013 so far?

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