Nintendo denies report games designer Miyamoto to retire

TOKYO Thu Dec 8, 2011 7:39am EST

Shigeru Miyamoto, Senior Managing Director and General Manager of Entertainment Analysis & Developement Division, Nintendo Co., Ltd., gives a demonstration during Nintendo's E3 presentation at the E3 Media & Business Summit in Los Angeles June 15, 2010. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

Shigeru Miyamoto, Senior Managing Director and General Manager of Entertainment Analysis & Developement Division, Nintendo Co., Ltd., gives a demonstration during Nintendo's E3 presentation at the E3 Media & Business Summit in Los Angeles June 15, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Phil McCarten

TOKYO (Reuters) - Nintendo Co Ltd on Thursday denied a report that Shigeru Miyamoto, widely seen as the world's most influential games designer, would step down from his current position and take a smaller role in the company.

Wired magazine had quoted the 59-year-old creator of popular games franchises including Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda as saying in an interview that he wanted to retire and work on smaller projects, passing the torch to younger designers.

"This is absolutely not true," said a spokeswoman for Nintendo. "There seems to have been a misunderstanding. He has said all along that he wants to train the younger generation.

"He has no intention of stepping down. Please do not be concerned."

Shares in Nintendo fell 2 percent to 11,040 yen on Thursday, compared with a 0.7 percent drop in the Nikkei average.

Any sign that the company might lose Miyamoto would be a fresh blow for Nintendo, which dominated the games industry for years with its Wii consoles and DS handheld devices.

"He is a rockstar in video game and console development," said Dan Sloan, the author of a book on the secretive Kyoto firm.

3DS FLOP

Nintendo has been struggling since its new generation 3DS device flopped shortly after its February launch, amid harsh competition from smartphones and tablets, while economic uncertainty in Europe and the United States will likely deal a fresh blow in the all-important year-end shopping season.

The yen's strength against the dollar and euro has also crushed the value of profits repatriated from overseas markets.

Miyamoto's influence over the industry has been such that analysts often ask about his latest hobbies to try to glean ideas about what games he might work on next. The report of his retirement sparked a flood of messages on Twitter and tech blogs.

"Inside our office, I've been recently declaring, 'I'm going to retire, I'm going to retire," the Wired.com website quoted Miyamoto as saying, via an interpreter.

"I'm not saying that I'm going to retire from game development altogether. What I mean by retiring is retiring from my current position."

The firm was forced to slash the price of its 3DS by about 40 percent six months after launch, and cut its forecast to a net loss for the year. Markets also reacted negatively to the unveiling of the successor to the Wii at the E3 games show in June.

The launch of a raft of new software, including Mario titles, has propped up 3DS sales, at least in Japan, President Satoru Iwata said in an interview with the Nikkei business daily this week. But he also noted that U.S. and European consumers seemed to be delaying year-end spending.

Even if Miyamoto is not ready to step down yet, some point out it may be time for the company to move on.

"Whether the report is true or not, speculation has been growing that Nintendo needs a next generation to take the mantle held by Miyamoto and Iwata over the past decade," said Sloan.

(Editing by Joseph Radford and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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Comments (3)
AndrewCarson wrote:
“Nintendo has been struggling since its new generation 3DS device flopped shortly after its February launch” — No it hasn’t “flopped” if you had bothered to do any research, you’d have known that the 3DS has already outsold the original DS in the SAME time frame. The Christmas holidays hasn’t even started and already the 3DS is positioned to be the number one seller, according to a retailer survey. Retailers are selling out of 3DS’s in the UK since the launch of Super Mario 3D Land. Please get your facts straight before writing nonsense.

” Markets also reacted negatively to the unveiling of the successor to the Wii at the E3 games show in June” – What world are you living in? People are excited to not only develop for the WiiU, but they can’t wait until it comes out to see how Nintendo and other game developers incorporate the second screen with the tv. I’m not sure if you spend your days surfing Apple forums, but you need to really conduct your research better.

Dec 08, 2011 11:37am EST  --  Report as abuse
LiamPomfret wrote:
Ugh, so much misinformation and misunderstanding about Miyamoto’s stepping down, especially after the Nintendo “denial”. A lot of people evidently never read further than alarmist headlines, which was probably why Nintendo had to release this in the first place, but even this seems to have been misrepresented and misunderstood. Miyamoto was stepping down, but NOT leaving Nintendo. The way Miyamoto described it himself, he’s basically getting his hands dirty on more personal projects rather than just being a manager. If anything, that’s something us gamers should celebrate. That’s exactly the kind of thing which should lead to new IP’s from Nintendo.

@AndrewCarson The author is this article is correct in stating the “markets” reacted negatively to the unveiling of the WiiU. You have to remember, when reporters are talking about the “markets”, they really mean “stock markets”, not actual video game consumers or developers. Really though, to anyone who actually cares about the industry and doesn’t jump on bandwagons, what the “markets” thought on that announcement was always going to be irrelevant. The markets hated the name “Wii” at first, but look who’s laughing to the bank now.

Dec 08, 2011 11:57am EST  --  Report as abuse
domoaligato wrote:
You have a typo in your image tag. you spelled Development wrong.

Shigeru Miyamoto, Senior Managing Director and General Manager of Entertainment Analysis & “Developement” :D

Dec 08, 2011 4:21pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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