One of Nintendo’s most well loved mascots – no, not Mario – Satoru Iwata is in a pretty sticky situation following a poor year for the company, particularly on the home console front. The bubbly president/CEO is reported to be facing a “June of trials” at the company, as his approval ratings dropped a staggering 15% over the last 3 years. Every June the Nintendo shareholders have a meeting where they vote to approve the spryly boss back on the board of Directors.
In January, Iwata altered the companies yearly forecasts, expecting a net loss of 25 billion yen, instead of the rather optimistic 55 billion yen profit, previously predicted. He also slashed the projected sales of the ailing Wii-U platform from 9 million, down to 2.8 million – nearly a third of what the PS4 has sold in it’s first 6 months on the market. Iwata spoke out about the companies troubles:
“In particular, sales in the [United States] and European markets in which we entered the year-end sales season with a hardware markdown were significantly lower than our original forecasts …,”
Investors at Nintendo are reported to have grown frustrated with the companies inability to draw in profits and although Iwata took a 50% pay cut in his salary last year, this still may not be enough to satisfy the shareholders. Iwata faces an uphill struggle if he is to remain commander in chief and even if he does, he has a tough job ahead swaying consumer opinion about the Wii-U.
The president has several plans in the works to turn the company around, including a focus on marketing the value of the Wii U’s gamepad and introducing a new lifestyle device in the years to come. Nintendos warchest is purportedly overflowing with Yen, but the question remains: How long can Nintendo afford to flounder for?
Also how long does the loveable president have left at its helm. Here’s hoping Iwata and crew can turn things around and get the Japanese giant back on its feet without much internal reshuffling. Iwata is a well loved public figure in the games industry and it would be a shame to see him forced out of his current position. Given his track record at the company, we’re sure if anyone can turn things around – it’s him.