Nintendo will officially be under new leadership as of this week as Mr. Shuntaro Furukawa takes the place of Tatsumi Kimishima as President of the Big N.
News broke earlier this year that the current President, Tatsumi Kimishima, would be handing over the position to his protege, Shuntaro Furukawa. Now, the time has come for the transition of power to officially take place as Furukawa will completely take hold of the company in just a few days.
Mr. Kimishima has been in charge of Nintendo’s operations since 2015, following the death of former President Satoru Iwata. Kimishima’s main goals were to ensure the Switch had a successful launch and get Nintendo’s mobile business up to a good speed. He’s clearly achieved these objectives. Kimishima is up in years (he’s 68-years old, at the time of writing), so now Furukawa is taking the reigns as he’s a lot younger (46-years old, at the time of writing). While he’s not Nintendo’s youngest President ever, he is far younger than other notable figures like Shigeru Miyamoto (65) and Reggie Fils-Aime (57).
Younger personnel have been making their way up the ranks in Nintendo for a while now. A prime example would be Mr. Yoshiaki Koizumi (50-years old), who is the General Producer of the Nintendo Switch and was also recently promoted to Executive Officer on Nintendo’s Board of Directors. He’s been featured heavily in most Nintendo Direct presentations since 2017, a role that President Kimishima never had. Perhaps President Furukawa will make an appearance, as he’s noted to speak English very well.
One very interesting thing about this transition of power is that Furukawa will be taking the reigns of the company while it’s in a very healthy state. The Switch has been selling well ever since it launched back in March 2017. Furukawa mentioned in a recent interview that this trend is still continuing. Thus, he’s inheriting the role of President under much more favorable circumstances than his predecessor, Kimishima, did back in 2015. Remember, 2015 was a very tough year for Nintendo. The company’s E3 presentation that year was considered to be very weak by most. Just a few weeks later, Satoru Iwata passed away. The Switch, which was known simply by its codename “NX” at that time, had not yet been fully revealed, but its existence was announced. The Wii U was in dire straits at that point, so things simply weren’t clear as to what Nintendo would do next. Thus, the company was shrouded in mystery, doubt, and despair at that time. Kimishima certainly had a lot on his hands but was able to turn the ship around.
While conditions are certainly a lot better now than they were then, Furukawa still has to make sure not to get comfortable. The Switch has launched at a rather odd time in the industry. The PS4 and Xbox One are starting to get up in years, and news of their true successors has already started to sprout up. At this point, it wouldn’t be surprising if either Sony or Microsoft (if not, both) formally announce their next-gen platforms in 2019. If that happens, the Switch will be put in an awkward position as it would no longer be the hot new system on the market, not to mention the already notable power gap will be further increased. Let’s see how Furukawa ‘steers the ship’, so to speak, over the course of the next few years.