There’s no denying that this year’s E3 show was one of the best for Nintendo. Super Smash Bros. was a critical hit with both critics and fans alike, while fresh new games like Splatoon and Hyrule Warriors show that Nintendo is capable of adapting to what consumers would like to see, without giving up on their friendly approach to gaming.
The tease of the new Legend of Zelda game was spectacularly done and though many fans hoped to see more, the short showcase we saw in the digital event presented by Eiji Aonuma was enough to tide many fans over. There was no drastic change in art style as what happened with Wind Waker, and the hint that the world is as open as you want it to be brings The Zelda franchise into the realm of the modern world. These are all great things to see and they’re the hint that Nintendo may be on the right track to reclaiming some of its former glory.
This past week the annual shareholders meeting for Nintendo commenced, where shareholders were given the choice to replace or keep president Satoru Iwata. Iwata has had some great successes under his belt, including the Wii and the Nintendo 3DS. The Wii U has been a stain on his record until now and it showed, in 2010 Iwata’s approval rating was at a staggering 90%. In 2013, a year after the official launch of the Wii U, Iwata found himself with just a 77% approval rating which is the lowest it’s ever been.
History of Iwata’s Approval Ratings
A short look at the history of Iwata’s approval ratings through these votes show that shareholders and investors remain confident in Iwata, despite the troubled 2013 year. Super Mario 3D World wasn’t a big enough hit to generate the expected Wii U sales over the holidays, so Nintendo had to lower their sales forecast for the second time. This year, Iwata approached the issue of Wii U sales very gently and with a conservative number. He apologized for previously over-stating the sales potential of the Wii U and admitted that Nintendo had not done enough to push units.
Here’s a quick look at the history of Iwata’s approval ratings from 2010 onward:
- Approve: 952,201
- Oppose: 19,072
- Approval Rating: 96.74%
- Approve: 932,379
- Oppose: 48,339
- Approval Rating: 92.89%
- Approve: 913,453
- Oppose: 83,740
- Approval Rating: 90.60%
- Approve: 772,384
- Oppose: 218,960
- Approval Rating: 77.26%
- Approve: 777,999
- Oppose: 169,240
- Approval Rating: 80.64%
As you can see, this year Iwata’s improvements in terms of addressing how the company will market the Wii U, as well as the showing at this year’s E3 likely had great influence on the shareholders vote. Iwata jumped up 3% in approval ratings, though he’s still down nearly 13% from where shareholders in 2010 enjoyed his direction.
To contrast this, here’s a look at other top Japanese CEOs of gaming companies, to see where Iwata compares.
- Sony, Kaz Hirai – 89%
- Square Enix, Yousuke Matsuda – 93%
- Bandai Namco, Shukuo Ishikawa – 95%
- Konami, Kagesama Kozuki – 91%
- Tecmo Koei, Keiko and Yoichi Erakawa – 89%
- Capcom, Kenzo Tsujimoto – 97%
Among Japanese shareholders, Iwata is currently the lowest rated president and CEO of his company, likely thanks to how the Wii U has sold in the past 2 years since it’s been available. With the dynamic showing at E3, it’s clear that shareholders are putting some faith back in Iwata that he understands just how the company should be performing, especially after the lean year of 2013 in terms of Wii U gaming.
So does this mean that Nintendo is rebounding? We won’t have the answer to that question until we see sales from this holiday season once games like Hyrule Warriors, Super Smash Bros., and Bayonetta 2 have been released. But with the dynamite catalogue that Nintendo has in store for us barring any delays, the Wii U is about the have the best holiday season it’s had since launch in 2012.
Stats compiled thanks to NeoGAF.