The former president of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi, has passed away at the age of 85 from complications with pneumonia.
Yamauchi was in Japan’s central hospital at the time of his passing (19 September 2013).
Yamauchi was known for being one of the visionaries of Nintendo while he was president from 1949 to 2002, and helped push the gaming company forward to what it is today.
“Hiroshi Yamauchi transformed a run-of the-mill trading card company into an entertainment empire in video games,” said Ian Livingstone, co-founder of Games Workshop and former chairman of publisher Eidos.
“He understood the social value of play, and economic potential of electronic gaming. Most importantly he steered Nintendo on its own course and was unconcerned by the actions of his competitors. He was a true visionary.”
While Yamauchi was undeniably an incredible influence in the gaming world, he also stretched his inspiration further.
In the early 1990s, the Seattle Mariners baseball team needed an investor, and Yamauchi decided to buy the franchise despite having never attended a game.
Yamauchi’s involvement in the Mariners was said to be a huge step for American baseball, as it opened up avenues for Japanese players to join American leagues, where they were previously denied.
In 2000, the club made its first profit of $2.6 million since its acquisition by Yamauchi.
As of March 2012, Yamauchi was the 12th richest person in Japan and 491st richest in the world, having a net worth of approximately $2.5 billion.
Thanks to Eugene for spotting the news.