He May Be Young, But He Has Experience
Shuntaro Furukawa has been officially appointed as the next president of Nintendo, beginning as of June 28. He succeeds Tatsumi Kimishawa, the transitional president following the death of Satoru Iwata in July 2015. Though the company thrived under the steady leadership of Kimishawa, he was upfront from the beginning that he had no intentions of holding the role long-term, and likely only stayed on as long as he did to maintain stability during the early stages of the Nintendo Switch.
At 46 years old, Furukawa is a relatively young man for the job – though it is worth noting that Iwata was 42 when he first stepped into the role. Despite this, Furukawa has been with the company since 1994, working primarily in the marketing department, and operating as outside director of the Pokemon Company since 2012 (if we’re lucky, this ought to expedite the development process of the upcoming Switch chapter for the franchise, eh?) He has a vision in place, stating that, “we will develop the company to its fullest. I will balance Nintendo’s traditions: originality and flexibility.”
Extrapolating that ideal, Furukawa’s extensive experience in marketing behooves the Switch’s ability to entice relations with other companies moving forward. Nintendo has shown signs of moving past its notorious stubbornness in recent years, embracing mobile gaming as a viable medium, and restoring the waning catalog of third party support, one of the Wii U’s most glaring issues. His multifaceted positions have included general manager of the corporate planning department (since 2015) and heading up the global marketing department (since 2016). On paper, Furukawa very much reads like a forward thinking man with a business acumen that could lead the company in an exciting new direction.
Like many of the fans who have stuck with Nintendo over the years, Furukawa grew up playing the Famicom – and has been working with the Japanese giant for more than half of his life. He has a sizable challenge in front of him, not only in trying to maintain the momentum guided by Kimishawa, but also if he hopes to recapture some of that intangible magnetism that Iwata delighted gamers with for years. At the very least, his resume carries the kind of weight to back up the lofty expectations.