Magazine article Management Today

Company Vitae: Nintendo

Magazine article Management Today

Company Vitae: Nintendo

Article excerpt

The world's largest games firm has not only lost a visionary boss, it must now grapple with unstoppable Apple.

Formative years

Generations of modern kids grew up playing Tetris and Super Mario Bros on the Gameboy and DS, but Japanese video games major Nintendo predates the digital age by a good century or so. It started in Kyoto producing handmade Hanafuda playing cards in 1889, before turning to the video games market in the 1970s and becoming an dollars 85bn corporation - Japan's third largest - in the process. Who knew?

Recent history

Nintendo's flagship 2006 console, the Wii, sold over 100m units. Up against the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo majored on family-friendly games, which appealed to a wider audience. Think Donkey Kong, Mario Kart and Wii Fit. But its successor the Wii U has been an unmitigated flop, shifting only 10m units since its 2012 launch. That same year, Nintendo made its first-ever loss of dollars 530m. Q1 2015 saw it back in the black thanks to Splatoon, its first hit game in ages, but only to the tune of a modest dollars 67m.

Who's the boss?

Charismatic company president Satoru Iwata - the father of the Wii and gaming legend - died of cancer in July. …

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