Junpei Furuhata was on the organizational committee for the Tokyo Game Show back in 2005. Back then, the team decided to invite Satoru Iwata to host a keynote at the show. Iwata would be the main keynote for TGS that year, but little did he know it would be the only year he'd get to present.
In an interview for the Iwata-san book, Furuhata details what lead to the TGS team banning Iwata from future keynote speeches. You can check out the full translation, courtesy of NintendoSoup, below.
Back in the day, Nikkei BP was a joint sponsor of (Tokyo Game Show), so I was involved in the management of Tokyo Game Show at that time. It was 2005, and the Nintendo DS was selling well, so we decided to ask late Nintendo President Satoru Iwata to deliver a keynote speech. We wanted Nintendo to talk about the future of video games.
Of course, the first to deliver the keynote speech would be Nintendo, followed by Microsoft. I had to beg both companies to get on board.
As I was the presenter I received the presentation slides before the speech. But during that time, the speakers never rehearsed before the actual speech, as everyone knew the rough state of the video game industry.
And so the keynote speech began. Iwata-san abruptly announced the Wii (codenamed Revolution at that time). The audience gave a round of thunderous applause, and the foreigners whistled in excitement. On the other hand, the Japanese game media journalists literally froze, hahaha.
Although the game industry was aware that Nintendo would release a new game console, nobody expected it to be announced at Tokyo Game Show. But it was him, Iwata-san, that explained the Wii Remote all by himself, while swinging it in the air. It was so impressive that it became a popular topic on the street.
Anyway, he perfectly fooled (hid it away from) all of us all the way till the day of Tokyo Game Show. So when it was the Microsoft’s representative’s turn to speak, he told me, “Iwata-san is cunning”. I said, “Nope, I didn’t know at all. Sorry about that.” Hahaha.
A few moments later, Iwata-san said on the NicoNico broadcast, “Sorry about that, I felt it was the perfect timing”.
From then on, we never asked Iwata-san to deliver a keynote speech again. Actually, we would love to have him speak, but there are people who will cause trouble. Hahaha.
I think Iwata-san was a brave person who could do things without batting an eyelid. He decided everything, he went ahead with his decision, and announced it. It was a huge impact. The late Nintendo President Iwata-san simply explained it on stage, all by himself.