CYPRESS — Rita Zimmerer, one of the highest-ranking women in the male-dominated video game industry, has resigned as executive vice president and general manager of Sunsoft of America.
Zimmerer, who joined the company in 1989 as director of sales, was responsible for obtaining the rights for Sunsoft video games to use characters based on Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes cartoons as well as Walt Disney Co. and Hanna-Barbera cartoons.
Cartoon-like games such as Rabbit Rampage, based on the character of Bugs Bunny, helped Sunsoft to expand rapidly, growing under Zimmerer's leadership to $40 million in annual sales.
Tad Shimamoto, vice chairman of the Japanese-owned company, said Tuesday that Sunsoft has changed its corporate strategy recently and is scaling back earlier expansion plans because of declining demand for Nintendo and Sega video games in anticipation of new technology. The company is focusing its resources instead on coin-operated arcade games, he said.
"Video games are a tough market this year because everyone is waiting," Shimamoto said. "After Christmas, we'll have a much better idea where the industry is going."
Zimmerer could not be reached Tuesday for comment. Shimamoto, who has run U.S.-based computer companies for 30 years, praised Zimmerer's accomplishments. He said he will assume her duties.