Hiroshi Yamauchi, who ran Nintendo for more than 50 years and led the Japanese company’s transition from traditional playing-card maker to video game giant, dies at 85. Kyoto-based Nintendo said Hiroshi Yamauchi, who owned the Seattle Mariners major league baseball club before selling it to Nintendo’s US unit in 2004, died Thursday of pneumonia at a hospital in central Japan.
Hiroshi Yamauchi was company president from 1949 to 2002, and engineered Nintendo’s global growth, including developing the early Family Computer consoles and Game Boy portables.
Nintendo, which makes Super Mario and Pokemon games as well as the Wii U home console, was founded in 1889. It made traditional playing cards before venturing into video games.
Reputed as a visionary and among the richest men in Japan, Hiroshi Yamauchi made key moves such as employing the talents of Shigeru Miyamoto, a global star of game design and the brainchild of Nintendo hits such as Super Mario and Donkey Kong.