Forbes has updated its list of the worlds’ billionaires (US dollar), and among the 1,342 listed, there are only 3 gaming industry luminaries noted – Hiroshi Yamauchi, Yoshikazu Tanaka, and Gabe Newell.
As of March 2013, these are the billionaires in video gaming, and as we’ll see, even the richest get hit by the weakening economy. Try not to cry too hard though, they should be fine.
Hiroshi Yamauchi – US$1.8-billion
Grandfather of Nintendo founder Fusajiro Yamauchi, Hiroshi lead Nintendo for 55 years as CEO. He steered the company through a golden era of collectible playing cards, to pioneering new forms of electronic entertainment. From breaking into the electronic gaming era in 1974 with a Japanese distribution deal for the Magnavox Odyssey, to developing its own home consoles and iconic characters, Nintendo has become synonymous with video gaming as we know it.
Now 85 years old, Hiroshi Yamauchi retired in 2005 after 55 years at the company to become the 11th richest man in Japan. Since then Nintendo has seen its revenue slip, leading the company to post two consecutive years of losses. From September 2012 to March 2013 his worth has slipped from US$2.5 billion to US$1.8-billion. In 2006 he was worth US$7.8 billion before Nintendo plunged into financial semi-crisis.
I’m just afraid the poor old guy won’t be able to put food on the table. Quick! Everyone rush out and buy a Wii U!
Yoshikazu Tanaka – US$1.8-billion
Possibly one of the richest gaming luminaries you’ve never heard of. Yoshikazu Tanaka is founder and CEO of Japanese mobile gaming and social networking service GREE.
Since September 2012 his wealth has taken a huge knock, down from US$3.5-billion to a paltry US$1.8-billion in March 2013.
According to Forbes, a combination of Japanese government crackdowns on social game marketing, delayed games, and slow overseas sales, has contributed to a 50% drop in the company’s share price in the past year.
Social game bubble burst? Let’s see if Tanaka is still on the list 6 months from now.
Gabe Newell – US$1.1-billion
Good old Gabe Newell probably needs no introduction among most Western PC gamers, but we’ll do the honoraries anyway.
Gabe Newell is a founder of Valve Corporation, famous for the Half-Life, Portal, and Left 4 Dead franchises, and of course, digital distribution platform Steam.
Gabe is hanging in there with US$1.1-billion, down from US$1.5-billion in September 2012. He’s been spending a lot on Pantene for Beards.
If you haven’t had enough of rich gaming industry types, check out our list of the 10 richest in the world: 10 richest people in the gaming industry