It’s been a tumultuous year for Nintendo and its President Satoru Iwata. Poor sales of the Wii U and 3 consecutive annual losses appeared to have shaken shareholder confidence in both the company and Iwata’s leadership. Iwata even attracted the ire of Wedbush Securities analyst Micheal Pachter, who suggested that Iwata needed to go. Spotty intra-company communication may have been responsible for part of these failings, and behind the reasoning for why Iwata stepped in as (read: was effectively demoted to) acting CEO of Nintendo America in April. But according to IGN not only has Iwata not been ousted from his position, but he’s actually been re-elected as President as per the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting.
The strong sales of the Mario Kart 8, which has sold over 2 million copies, might have been a deciding factor in keeping Iwata around. We at Continue Play aren’t entirely surprised by Mario Kart 8’s success though, it’s a pure Mario Kart experience with some pretty robust online features to boot, who could say no to that?
News of Iwata’s re-election might come as a surprise given that Iwata’s approval rating has steadily dropped from 92.9% back in 2011 to a meager 77.3% in 2013. Investors expressed that they were irritated by Nintendo’s inability to find new profits. At E3 this year Nintendo announced the Skylanders-like Amiibo figurine range which may have restored investor faith in Nintendo’s ability to spin-off their properties.
In January Nintendo announced it would be looking to branch out into the health business, something he called “The Quality of Life Platform” which Iwata hopes will allow Nintendo to tap into a new demographic in the way the “Blue Ocean Strategy” helped Nintendo sell the Wii to “non-gamers”. It isn’t clear how much, if any, sway this announcement had in convincing the board to keep Iwata on board.
In any case, Satoru Iwata now has another year at Nintendo until the next annual shareholders’ meeting comes around to decide his fate. He may well be banking heavily on games shown off at E3 such as Xenoblade Chronicles X, new IP and co-op shooter Splatoon and Super Smash Bros driving and accelerating Wii U sales.