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Nintendo Co., Ltd. (Japanese: 任天堂株式会社 Hepburn: Nintendō kabushikigaisha?) is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics and software company headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. Nintendo is one of the world's largest video game companies by net worth. Founded on 23 September 1889, by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it originally produced handmade hanafuda playing cards. By 1963, the company had tried several small niche businesses, such as cab services and love hotels. The word Nintendo can be roughly translated from Japanese to English as "leave luck to heaven".
Abandoning previous ventures in favor of toys in the 1960s, Nintendo then developed into a video game company in the 1970s, ultimately becoming one of the most influential in the industry and Japan's third most-valuable company with a market value of over $85 billion. From 1992 until 2016, Nintendo was also the majority shareholder of Major League Baseball's Seattle Mariners.
As of 31 March 2014, Nintendo has cumulative sales of over 670.43 million hardware units and 4.23 billion software units. The company has created some of the most well known and best-selling video game franchises in the industry, such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid, while also owning The Pokémon Company.
Nintendo started out as a small Japanese company, founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi on September 23, 1889, as Nintendo Koppai. Based in Kyoto, Japan, the business produced and marketed Hanafuda cards. The name "Nintendo" is commonly assumed to mean "leave luck to heaven", but there are no historical records to validate this assumption. The cards, which were all handmade, soon began to gain in popularity, and Yamauchi had to hire assistants to mass-produce cards to keep up with the demand.
Fusajiro Yamauchi did not have a son to take over the family business. Following common Japanese tradition, he adopted his son-in-law, Sekiryo Yamauchi, (after the marriage). In 1929, Yamauchi retired from the company and allowed Sekiryo Yamauchi to take over the company as president. In 1933, Sekiryo Yamauchi established a joint venture with another company and renamed the company Yamauchi Nintendo & Co.
In 1947, Sekiryo established a distribution company, Marufuku Co., Ltd., to distribute the Hanafuda cards, as well as several other brands of cards that had been introduced by Nintendo. Sekiryo Yamauchi also had only daughters, so again his son-in-law (Shikanojo Inaba, renamed Shikanojo Yamauchi) was adopted into the family. Shikanojo never became president because he abandoned his family. Subsequently, his son Hiroshi was brought up by his grandparents. He later took over the company instead of his father.
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