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Nintendo game designer not resigning

Dec 08 2011 11:08 Reuters

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Tokyo - Nintendo on Thursday denied a report that Shigeru Miyamoto, widely seen as the world’s most influential games designer, will step down from his current position and take a smaller role in the company.

Wired magazine had quoted the 59-year-old creator of popular games franchises including Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda as saying in an interview that he wanted to retire and work on smaller projects, passing the torch to younger designers.

“This is absolutely not true,” said a Nintendo spokesperson. “There seems to have been a misunderstanding. He has said all along that he wants to train the younger generation.

“He has no intention of stepping down. Please do not be concerned.”

Shares in Nintendo fell 2% to ¥11 040 on Thursday, compared with a 0.7% drop in the Nikkei average.

Miyamoto’s influence over Nintendo has been such that analysts often ask about his latest hobbies to try to glean ideas about what games he might work on next.

Any sign that the company might lose Miyamoto would be a fresh blow for Nintendo, which dominated the games industry for years with its Wii consoles and DS handheld devices, but has been struggling since its new generation 3DS device flopped shortly after its February launch.

“Inside our office, I’ve been recently declaring ’I’m going to retire, I’m going to retire',” the Wired.com website quoted Miyamoto as saying, via an interpreter.

“I’m not saying that I’m going to retire from game development altogether. What I mean by retiring is retiring from my current position.”

The Kyoto-based firm was forced to slash the price of its 3DS by about 40% six months after launch, and cut its forecast to a net loss for the year. Markets also reacted negatively to the unveiling of the successor to the Wii at the E3 games show in June.

The launch of a raft of new software, including Mario titles, has propped up 3DS sales, at least in Japan, president Satoru Iwata said in an interview with the Nikkei business daily this week. 

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