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2015 Person of the Year: Satoru Iwata

The late president and CEO of Nintendo was a champion for our industry and a warm presence who connected with the gaming community in a way few executives can. He is our Person of the Year 2015.

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We live in the era of the celebrity executive. The likes of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg paved the way for video game executives to follow suit. Figures like Reggie Fils-Aime, Jack Tretton, and Peter Moore have been judged just as much on their stage presence as their business acumen. Satoru Iwata, the late president and Chief Executive Officer of Nintendo, had an instinctive sense for how to engage with the loyal fans of the storied company, but did it with a warmth and playfulness that was uniquely Nintendo.

When considering the criteria for a retrospective on the year's most influential gaming personalities, we wanted to reward figures whose presence was disruptive to the industry. Those who truly set standards and dictated the pace of the medium. In awarding Iwata posthumously, the staff is recognizing an undeniable truth that his untimely death put into stark relief. A person's absence can be as keenly felt as their presence.

Satoru Iwata was a daring figure, willing to take risks and keenly aware that the profound enjoyment of play is not something to be hoarded. Play belongs to everyone, and Iwata set about making that vision a reality. In losing him we lost one of the great champions of our industry. For those reasons, and many more evidenced by the outpouring of grief and fond memories upon his passing, Iwata is the Shacknews Person of the Year 2015.

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