Analysts weigh in on new Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima


Industry analysts have weighed in on new Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima, referring to the company’s new leader as “a solid and safe interim solution.”

Gamasutra reached out to analysts for their immediate thoughts on the appointment, who largely see it as a positive move that will see Kimishima continue the late Satoru Iwata’s strategies and successfully see their transition through.

That will be seen in NX which is scheduled to be revealed next year, Nintendo’s new partnership with DeNA and their relatively unknown Quality of Life initiative.

“This is a solid and safe interim solution. It will probably bridge the gap until a ‘true’ successor is found without any big hiccups. All three Nintendo leaders are veterans that know the company in and out. Kimishima even has work experience in the US – that is a first for a Nintendo CEO.

“They had to react quickly, as the company we knew as Nintendo is set for a radical transformation: a new console is on the horizon, DeNA is a new close partner that will bring Nintendo games to smart devices, more and more Nintendo IP will be used by third parties – and all happens in a time when we have the biggest market for gaming that ever existed. In their initial reactions, many fans (at least those living outside Japan) seem to have described Kimishima as a bit stiff, a typical ‘suit’ who doesn’t seem to have the charisma to represent Nintendo.

“However, Iwata also acted as and had the aura of a very serious Japanese businessman – but successfully broke expectations set by his appearance by being entertaining and ironic during Nintendo Direct, for example.

“But Iwata was a unique personality and can’t be just replaced 1:1. Kimishima might be different after all and is likely to let other people, i.e. Shigeru Miyamoto and Reggie Fils-Aime, represent Nintendo going forward.”

– Serkan Toto, Kantan Games consultant

“Kimishima-san is an excellent choice, and could be seen by the markets as a clear statement of intent to continue Iwata-san’s strategy. So leveraging the installed base of Wii U and 3DS users to generate software sales, pushing into mobile with DeNA and Niantic, and launching Nintendo’s new console system NX in 2016. Whether NX is an augmented/virtual reality focused console or something else, it will define Nintendo’s future as an integrated hardware/software player. A steady hand is needed to maximize profitability in the coming years to support it, and Kimishima-san is that steady hand.”

– Tim Merel, Digi-Capital managing director

“Mr. Kimishima certainly has a strong grasp on Nintendo’s cornerstone market of North America, and so while the advancement of a finance and operations executive into the president’s role may not be particularly exciting, it is in line with Nintendo’s history of looking inside the company first. Mr. Kimishima’s background is certainly helpful given all of the internal and external pressures the company has been feeling in recent years. I view this as more of a ‘steady as she goes’ choice rather than a signal that Nintendo is about to make a dramatic change of strategic direction.”

“Yes, other Nintendo executives such as Mr. Miyamoto will likely take some of the spotlight Mr. Iwata used to occupy. But Kimishima’s had plenty on time in the spotlight. I’m sure he’ll be speaking his own mind very shortly. Although he may not be as spry as My. Iwata was, I suspect we’ll see some personality shining through in a Nintendo Direct video or as part of an investor Q&A session before the end of the year. I’ll be shocked if we don’t see Mr. Kimishima put his own clear stamp on the company’s direction before the next fiscal year ends in March of 2016.”

– Lewis Ward, IDC research director for gaming

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