Earlier this year, Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata presented shareholders and fans with a new project focusing on Quality of Life. And while the company will continue to create video games, Iwata believed they needed to acknowledge and support society’s changing lifestyles. In a recent interview with Japanese tech site Diamond, the CEO talks about how the idea was built upon and why Hiroshi Yamauchi’s passing was an integral inspiration to QOL.
“Surely, a lot of people around the world must think ‘Nintendo is a company that is just for video games,’ about us, and I believe that there are more and more of our own employees who have begun to think like that. So, even if the fact that our focus being video games won’t be changing, I felt the need to take this occasion to say ‘Nintendo is a company that can do whatever they want’.
“This subject came to light when Yamauchi passed away, but I felt that our surroundings are greatly changing. We need to redefine what Nintendo must do, from this point on. However, I felt that saying ‘Nintendo will do anything,’ was also the wrong idea for the company.
“Yamauchi was one to always say, ‘Nintendo is a company for entertainment, and it shouldn’t be for anything else,’ and he didn’t necessarily think that ‘entertainment equalled video games’. I’ve been wondering how to express Yamauchi’s feelings, and I’ve been thinking about it non-stop, even during the New Year’s holiday break.”
The CEO continued, “Lately, the words QOL (quality of life) have come up. Entertainment is there to improve people’s quality of life. After your basic needs, there’s entertainment. At the start of this year, I finally figured that improving people’s quality of life with fun, with emphasis to the ‘fun’ would be perfect for Nintendo.”
Nintendo has completed its 9.5 million share acquisition following the announcement yesterday that the company would buy back inherited shares from Hiroshi Yamauchi’s family. The corporation outlined that the former Nintendo president gave treasury shares to his four children after his passing, but due to the demands of inheritance tax, the heirs relinquished their stock back to the company.
Hiroshi Yamauchi owned approximately 10 per cent of the company’s stock, but Nintendo do not know which family members sold stock in the buyback, or how many shares they sold. In an official statement, the company confirmed the acquisition cost of 114 billion yen (around $1.1 billion) at a close of 12,025 yen per share.
Nintendo has announced that it will acquire up to 9.5 million of its own shares by tomorrow morning. During the Q3 financial results reveal, the corporation planned to buy back up to 10 million of its shares by the end of March, equalling 125,000 million yen. But after a 4.3 per cent fall in its shares last week, Nintendo has made the smart move to repurchase stock at a lower point.
The 9.5 million shares – equating to 7.43 per cent – will be acquired on February 4 by the company at a closing price of 12,025 yen. Nintendo expect to buy back shares worth up to 114,237 million yen, but an announcement will follow detailing the exact amounts after the acquisition. Nintendo said the following in a statement:
“The Company has been informed by the shareholders who inherited shares from Mr. Hiroshi Yamauchi, the late Executive Advisor, that they desire to sell their holdings of the Company’s common shares.”
Before the opening game of their series with the Kansas City Royals Monday night, the Seattle Mariners held a moment of silence for owner Hiroshi Yamauchi, who purchased a majority stake in the ball club back in 1992, preventing the team from moving to Florida. Before the ceremonial silence, a statement was made about the role Yamauchi played for baseball in both Seattle and all of America, as he was also mentioned for being instrumental in bringing Japanese players to the states. In 2001, the Mariners signed Ichiro Suzuki, the first Japanese position player to ever play Major League Baseball.
Mariners Chairman and CEO Howard Lincoln has stated that Nintendo will not sell its stake in the team now that Yamauchi has passed away. Yamauchi died of pneumonia last Thursday at 85 years old. Here is the statement made prior to the moment of silence held by the Mariners:
“Last week the Seattle Mariners organization lost the man responsible for saving baseball here in Seattle. Mr. Hiroshi Yamauchi purchased the Mariners franchise in 1992 as a gesture of goodwill to the citizens of the Pacific Northwest. He transformed his great grandfather’s playing card company, Nintendo, into a global video game powerhouse. His gift of baseball to this region will never be forgotten. Mr. Yamauchi will forever be a significant figure in Mariners baseball history. He will also be remembered throughout the game for his role in moving forward the opportunity for Japanese baseball players to play in the United States.”
According to Seattle Mariners chairman and CEO Howard Lincoln, who also happens to serve on the board of directors at Nintendo of America, Nintendo has no plan to sell its stake in Major League Baseball team the Seattle Mariners. Speculation arose last week that the company’s ownership of the Mariners may be coming to an end following the death of Hiroshi Yamauchi. Although Yamauchi transferred his shares in the team to Nintendo of America in 2004, he was still considered the owner of the Mariners in name and title.
In 1992, Yamauchi famously purchased a majority stake in the Seattle Mariners at a time when the team was in dire straits and on the verge of moving to Florida. Despite having never attended a Mariners game, Yamauchi is credited with saving the team and keeping them in Seattle, which is also home to Nintendo of America. The Mariners would go on to tie the MLB record for most wins in a season in 2001, while Yamauchi, as President of Nintendo, lead the company to a string of innovations and successes in console gaming until stepping down in 2002. Hiroshi Yamauchi passed away from pneumonia last Thursday at the age of 85.
Here are Howard Lincoln’s comments regarding Nintendo, the Mariners, and Yamauchi’s death:
On Nintendo’s Ownership of the Seattle Mariners: “There’s always speculation in times like this. I think I can speak on behalf of Nintendo of America and say that Nintendo has no plans to sell its majority interest in the Mariners….I can’t tell you what’s going to happen in the future, but now Nintendo feels very strongly that Nintendo wants to maintain its ownership interest in the Mariners.”
On Yamauchi: “There’s a flood of recollections. I’ve known and worked for him for more than 30 years. More than 2,000 people came to his (memorial) in Japan on Saturday, I was told. He was a man of small stature and commanding presence. People liked him. I saw him in action in Japan and the United States, and he was always very warm. He was a visionary. We need to think about and never forget all he did for Seattle and for the Northwest.”
Hirokazu Tanaka, also known as Hip (or Chip) Tanaka, has remixed the theme music for both Metroid and Super Mario Land as tributes to Hiroshi Yamauchi, Nintendo’s long-time President who passed away this week. Tanaka worked at Nintendo as a composer and audio producer for 19 years, from 1980 to 1999, producing the original soundtracks for both of the titles he remixed. He now works as a chiptune artist.
Yamauchi served as Nintendo’s President from 1949 to 2002, ushering in the video game era for the company in the 80’s, and thus remained President throughout the duration of Tanaka’s tenure at the company. On Thursday, Yamauchi died of pneumonia at a hospital in central Japan.
All of Nintendo’s social media outlets have posted the same message today, indicating that they will not be posting any news, updates, or promotions in remembrance of former president Hiroshi Yamauchi, who passed away yesterday. Nintendo of America, Nintendo UK, and Nintendo of Europe all posted the same message on Twitter in the last 24 hours, which appears below.
Yamauchi is credited with ushering in a new era of gaming by serving as President of Nintendo when the company first released its iconic Mario and Donkey Kong franchises. He famously gave the young, aspiring artist Shigeru Miyamoto a chance to design Donkey Kong when all odds were against the success of the game. Yamauchi died of pneumonia yesterday at a hospital in central Japan. He was 85 years old.
In remembrance of Mr. Hiroshi Yamauchi, Nintendo will not be posting on our social media channels today.