Nintendo’s Genyo Takeda, one of the longest-serving staffers in the company’s history at 45 years, has announced his retirement at the age of 68 from his position on the board of directors.
Takeda joined Nintendo in 1971, working as the director of R&D3 and designing early hardware and games for the company, as well as the first video game Nintendo ever released, the arcade machine EVR Race, in 1975. According to the late Satoru Iwata in one of his “Iwata Asks” columns, Takeda was credited as being the ‘first game designer’ in Nintendo, before the venerable Gunpei Yokoi created the Game & Watch.
Takeda is also the director of the Punch-Out! series, most notably Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!, and was a producer on several games for Nintendo in the early 1990s, including the StarTropics series, Pilotwings 64, and Dr. Mario 64.
Outside of Game Design, Takeda was well known for his hardware innovations within the company. Many of these technical innovations paved the way for a solid console experience, such as backup battery systems on NES and Famicom cartridges, the analog stick for the Nintendo 64 controller, but perhaps most notably, the hardware and structure of the Nintendo Wii. Takeda was a lead designer on the Wii console, including the decision to focus less on graphical horsepower for the console.
“We would have tried to improve the speed at which it displays stunning graphics,” he stated in another “Iwata Asks” column. “But we could not help but ask ourselves, ‘How big an impact would that direction really have on our customers?’ During development, we came to realize the sheer inefficiency of this path when we compared the hardships and costs of development against any new experiences that might be had by our customers.”
To date, the Wii has sold 101.63 million units worldwide.
Takeda had been named a representative director to Nintendo and “Techology Fellow” since the passing of Iwata in 2015. Takeda was also one of the men put in charge of Nintendo as an interim director before current CEO Tatsumi Kimishima was elected.
Takeda’s expected successor is Ko Shiota, who has worked with Takeda on the Nintendo Wii, and oversaw hardware production in the Wii U. Shiota is expected to take control on June 29th, during the 77th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders.
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