University drop out and former richest man in Japan, Hiroshi Yamauchi has died, ending the long life of a man who was also Nintendo's longest running president. Having taken on the role from his ailing grandfather in 1949 at the age of 22, Yamauchi ran the company until 2002, when his successor and current Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata took up the reigns.
Yes, Nintendo and its President(s) have been around a long time, with Yamauchi developing the company through multiple stages of its life cycle. Taking on the company at a young age, he initially fired striking employees that hoped to take advantage of him and began ruling the then card-making company with an iron fist, personally approving all of the firm's products. His first big success came from the introduction of plastic playing cards in a deal with Disney, marketing them as a game for family fun instead of gambling – which was still illegal in the country.
Source: Seattle Mariners. Yea, he owned a baseball team too.
Recognising the importance of electronic gaming in the early 80s, Yamauchi pushed game development early, turning to Shigeru Miyamoto for a game to expand into the US market with: Donkey Kong. From there internal hardware development fostered gadgets like the Game and Watch, followed by the NES, SNES and Gameboy, right through into the early 2000s when Mr Yamauchi announced his retirement.
When he died, Yamauchi had the second largest holding of Nintendo shares with a net worth of $2.5 billion. He death was caused by complications brought on by pneumonia.
KitGuru Says: So long Mr Yamauchi. Thanks for all the games.[Thanks Kotaku]