Bandai Namco has confirmed that Namco founder Masaya Nakamura passed away on January 22, 2017, at the age of 91. The company did not wish to comment on cause of death, in respect to the man and his family's wishes.
Nakamura founded Nakamura Manufacturing in 1955, seven years after his graduation from Yokohama National University in Yokohama, Japan. The company began by offering mechanical children's rides at department stores. Nakamura Manufacturing was renamed to Namco in 1977, launching its first coin-operated arcade game, Gee Bee, in 1978. It followed that with Galaxian in 1979, a shooter offering the first RGB graphics in the industry.
Namco hit it big with Pac-Man in 1980, designed by Toru Iwatani, the game that went on to define Namco as a company. Pac-Man holds a Guinness World Record, having been played 10 billion times at arcades. The game remains a big part of Japanese and video game culture.
Namco purchased film studio Nikkatsu in 1993, with Nakamura involving himself in film production and becoming an executive producer for a number of films. He became president of Namco in 2002, three years before the company would merge with Japanese toy manufacturer Bandai to create Bandai Namco Holdings. Nakamura was briefly president of Bandai Namco Games, later becoming an honorary advisor.
The industry has lost another pioneer and we here are USgamer offer our condolences to his family.