Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"Suck my little yellow balls Mr Ballmer" - Hiroshi Yamauchi

DISCLAIMER: The quote was not made by Hiroshi Yamauchi, it came from a fake Wired article from 2005. Find out more here.

After learning that Americans don't understand the concepts of loyalty or honor and rather think that offering bucket loads of money can get you anywhere Hiroshi Yamauchi (then Nintendo President) put it plainly. He stood up and said it, "Suck my little yellow balls Mr Ballmer" in English [source: February 2005 Issue of Wired Magazine]. Perhaps he stayed up all night revising it to know exactly how to say it. Now you know why Microsoft never bought out Nintendo when entering the console market.

The guy was (is) crazy, his upbringing is ample proof, spoiled little bugger from the start (check his Wiki to see), he became president of the company by default. Used to having his own way he literally said such things as "[People who play RPGs are] depressed gamers who like to sit alone in their dark rooms and play slow games." out of spite when Square dumped Nintendo for Sony.

Most people believe that Nintendo started off as a taxi company and went onto the 'love hotel' industry however that's false. Hiroshi actually headed up these two businesses before he was made president of Nintendo. Nintendo up until that time was a trading card company and initially remained as such under his control.

He went nuts (more so than usual) when given control of the company firing off his own relatives (under his Grandfathers permission) so that he could run the company with no challenges. He was the first and last stop for approval making before a product went into market. That isn't to say he was a terrible decision maker or made bad judgements, his instincts tended to be pretty good. After all he did recognize Miyamoto's talents and had Donkey Kong released in the US to amazing success.

Another one of his rather specific instincts was the concept of the 'console for games'. That is to say he wanted consoles to exist for games, be sold cheap but be fun to play. He also believed it was software that sold consoles, as he says:
"(people) do not play with the game machine itself. They play with the software,
and they are forced to purchase a game machine in order to use the software.
Therefore the price of the machine should be as cheap as possible."
Perhaps the Game Cube isn't the best example of this given it possessed a number of glaring holes, however the direction he took the company in proved supremely true, the Wii itself is a testament of his philosophy back before the Game Cube even started and while it took the collective creativity of his successor and the designer (whose skills he recognized years ago) it was ultimately his philosophy that drove the company back to the undisputed top of the industry.

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