Furukawa replaces Tatsumi Kimishima, who announced his retirement in April. Kimishima became Nintendo’s president in 2015 after the death of Satoru Iwata. He oversaw the launch of the Nintendo Switch in March 2017, which managed to sell over 17 million units its first fiscal year.
Furukawa joined Nintendo in 1994 and has served as outside director of the Pokémon Company since 2012. Kimishima praised his successor during a recent investor Q&A, calling him a person with “extremely strong inner fortitude.”
“He has clear and articulated opinions, he understands the Nintendo point of view, and he can express that to everyone in his own words,” he said.
In a letter to investors and shareholders on Thursday, Furukawa said Nintendo will continue to focus on the Switch and create software that appeals to a wide variety of consumers. It will also work toward strengthening its digital business and building longer-term relationships with consumers via services like Nintendo Switch Online, which debuts in September. Similar to PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live, it will charge members a yearly fee to access multiplayer content in games and play a selection of classic NES titles.
Furukawa also said the company will continue working on its mobile games business and it will expand the Nintendo brand into several different sectors, including theme parks, feature films, and character-based merchandise.
“Nintendo will continue to flexibly transform itself by adapting to changing times while constantly valuing the spirit of originality based on the belief that ‘the true value of entertainment lies in its uniqueness’ — and we will continue to provide products and services that surprise and delight consumers,” he said.