Nintendo Next President Reggie Miyamoto Shibata
Nintendo executives Reggie Fils-Aimé, Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Shibata Getty Images / Nintendo

Following the untimely death of Nintendo president Satoru Iwata at the age of 55, the gaming world has been in a state of mourning. Many have told personal anecdotes of time spent with the man, some celebrated the many games he played a part in bringing to us and others honoured him by having the fun he treasured so much.

His death will cast a lengthy sadness only time and his legacy of joy will heal, but soon attentions will turn to a successor - the next president of Nintendo who will assume the role at a time of great change.

Here's a rundown of the potential candidates, starting with the two men who will temporarily run the company.

Shigeru Miyamoto

Without Shigeru Miyamoto there would be no Mario, no Zelda, no Metroid, Donkey Kong, Star Fox or Pikmin. Iwata may have embodied the Nintendo spirit, but his legendary co-worker IS Nintendo.

His legacy makes him a candidate, but Miyamoto is certainly more creative than business-minded. He may be quite business savvy, but imagining the laid back developer with his infectious smile wrapped up in a suit rather than a T-shirt just doesn't seem right.

Becoming president may well pull his attention too far away from the creative side of the company, and that would certainly have a detrimental effect. Concocting and nurturing new ideas is what Miyamoto is best at – and that shouldn't change.

Satoru Iwata fans reaction to his death
Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Nintendo

Genyo Takeda

Takeda joined Nintendo in 1972 – 28 years before Iwata did – making him one of the company's most senior members of staff. He worked in and later oversaw the research and development department during the creation of the NES console and its follow-ups.

He is credited with creating the battery back-up memory that allowed for save games in NES titles from 1986's The Legend of Zelda onwards. He was also behind the invention of the Nintendo 64's analogue stick, a method of control used with every home console today. Takeda was also a lead developer on the Wii – one of the best-selling consoles of all time.

As a potential president he makes more sense than Miyamoto and would carry on the ethos that made the Wii and Nintendo DS such huge successes. In an interview with Iwata he likened gaming to the automotive industry, saying: "If automobiles can be used as a metaphor, our industry has always been trying to compete over horsepower, even though not all cars are made to compete in F1 races."

Success doesn't always mean offering the most powerful console - innovation can sell. However, at 66-years of age Takeda may be a touch too old to take on the role.

Satoru Shibata

The current president of Nintendo of Europe has done a fine job since taking on the job 15 years ago, having previously been president of Nintendo of Australia. Notoriously shy, Shibata has over the past few years taken on a greater role in Nintendo's Direct online broadcasts – hosting the European versions since 2012.

His experience at one of the largest branches of Nintendo's business makes him the most likely candidate on this list, having seemingly been groomed for the role.

Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda for Wii U is the biggest upcoming game known to be in development at Nintendo. Nintendo

Reggie Fils-Aimé

The current president of Nintendo of America is arguably the company's most recognisable figurehead after Iwata and Miyamoto (we're not counting Mario or his friends here), and has been popular over the years.

However, custom in Japan means that Iwata's successor will almost certainly be Japanese, effectively ruling Reggie out no matter how ready his body may be.

Masahiro Sakurai

Sakurai's career trajectory closely resembles that of Iwata, having worked alongside the late president on the original Kirby game, Kirby's Dream Land, and Super Smash Bros. Both games were from HAL Laboratory, the company at which Sakurai and Iwata made their names, and which had close ties to Nintendo.

Sakurai left HAL in 2003, releasing DS title Meteos in 2005 having started his own company Sora, but returned to Nintendo for the development of Super Smash Bros Brawl for Wii, which was released in 2008. He has since acted as director for Kid Icarus: Uprising on 3DS and last year's Super Smash Bros for 3DS and Wii U.

Interestingly, Sakurai also provided the voice of Kirby antagonist King Dedede in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards and in the Super Smash Bros series.

Tatsumi Kimishima

Kimishima is the current Managing Director of Nintendo and was president of Nintendo of America from 2002 and 2006, after which Fils-Aimé took over. His affiliation with Nintendo began with Pokémon, working at the Pokémon Company and Pokémon USA, making him head of the entire Pokémon operation.

He rose through the ranks of Nintendo from there and was a key part of the Wii's success from 2006 onwards, at which point he was made Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. He still serves on the boards of Nintendo of America and Nintendo itself.

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