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Nintendo president Satoru Iwata skipping E3 for health-related reasons

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The president of Nintendo won't be in attendance at E3 next week on the advice of his physician, a Nintendo representative confirmed to Polygon today.

Nintendo of America did not specify why Iwata, 54, was advised not to travel overseas, but said "it is business as usual" for Iwata, who will continue his duties as president.

"He's been instructed by his physician not to travel overseas in the immediate future, and so he will not be making the trip to Los Angeles," Nintendo vice president of corporate affairs Cindy Gordon said in an email. "Please understand that it is business as usual for Mr. Iwata, and he continues his normal duties as president of Nintendo Co., Ltd. while he remains in Japan. As always, he will be actively involved in all of Nintendo's activities at the show."

Nintendo does not plan to hold a traditional press conference as it has in years past. Instead, the company will hold a digital event that will take place on Tuesday, June 10 and a series of livestreams called Nintendo Treehouse: Live @ E3. The company also plans to host a Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournament and showcase upcoming games at select Best Buy locations.

Iwata announced earlier this year that he and other Nintendo executives would take a pay cut in the wake of poor financial results. Nintendo announced a share buyback plan shortly thereafter, including a purchase of shares from the family of former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi who expressed a desire to sell their inherited stock.

As part of Iwata's plan to return Nintendo to profitability, the company plans to introduce a new Nintendo Figurine Platform for the Wii U — part of a larger effort to express the usefulness of the console's GamePad controller — and Nintendo 3DS, as well as establish new business endeavors centered on emerging marketshealth and "Quality of Life."

Nintendo was founded in 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi. The company continued to run under the direction of a president from the Yamauchi family until 2002 when Hiroshi Yamauchi stepped down and was succeeded by current head Satoru Iwata, formerly president of HAL Laboratory. Iwata is the first Nintendo president unrelated to the Yamauchi family through blood or marriage.

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