TOKYO – 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, has died. He was 85.
Kyoto-based Nintendo said Yamauchi, who owned the Seattle Mariners major league baseball club before selling it to Nintendo’s U.S. unit in 2004, died Thursday of pneumonia at a hospital in central Japan.
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 was founded in 1889 and made traditional playing cards before venturing into video games.
Yamauchi is survived by Katsuhito Yamauchi, his eldest son. The company declined to release other family details. Funeral services are scheduled for Sunday at Nintendo.