Former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi passes away at 85

Company "in mourning" as pioneer dies

Hiroshi Yamauchi, the widely respected Nintendo president who worked at the company for 53 years, passed away on Thursday. He was 85.

Yamauchi joined Nintendo in 1949 - two decades before the electronic entertainment industry had been established

"Nintendo is in mourning today from the sad loss of the former Nintendo president Mr Hiroshi Yamauchi, who sadly passed away this morning," the company said in a statement issued to CVG.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata added in a further statement: "We will continue to treasure the values Yamauchi taught us - that what makes you unique lies at the core of entertainment.

"And we at Nintendo will continue to change the company flexibly to adapt to the times, as Yamauchi did, to carry on his spirit."

The details of his passing have not been disclosed.

Yamauchi joined Nintendo in 1949 and worked in an executive role until 2002. In the early seventies he became chairman and took Nintendo public.

When Yamauchi joined Nintendo, the corporation was not in the electronics entertainment business - a testament to the transformation the company underwent during his reign. Yamauchi spearheaded the company when it shipped industry-changing machines such as the NES, the SNES and the GameBoy; consoles which bolstered Nintendo's finances and also cemented Japan as a major force in games development.

Yamauchi stepped down from Nintendo in 2002 after its GameCube struggled to compete with the likes of PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

But Yamauchi's departure led to a more democratic management structure at the corporation. A board of six executives was appointed to take mutual control of all operations - Atsushi Asada stepped in as new chairman while Satoru Iwata was appointed president. Shigeru Miyamoto was also named one of the six.

In a previous CVG feature, called Revolution: The Story of Wii, it was said that this democratic structure allowed Nintendo to incorporate more radical ideas - a philosophy which led to the creation of its most successful console ever.