Lessons From An Interview



I had opportunity to conduct an interview with NIS President Souhei Niikawa and Producer Toshinori Terasawa. I couldn't have asked for a better first interview because they were some of the nicest people I ever met in the industry, and I've met quite a lot of amazing people in the gaming industry.

I made a lot of rookie mistakes, but I am glad they were with the kind Mr.Niikawa and Mr.Terasawa. One thing I learned is in the end of the day even the presidents of gaming companies are still gamers at heart. Having been to events such as Gamebeats, I met many head of companies that seemed much more interested in talking about business. No surprise given that in those positions you find yourself not having time to play games anymore.

That mind set of asking business related questions is how I went about to conduct this interview. I had shaped my interview to ask about the growth of mobile games and what steps they were planning to do to capitalize on it. NIS America is a Japanese a company, the country that started revolutionizing mobile gaming. Mr. Niikawa graciously answered my questions about mobile, but he didn't have too much to say about the mobile industry.

I was trying to steer the interview to create a conversation about mobile when I should have been reacting to what the conversation was naturally going towards. When I started asking more about what got him into the gaming industry, Mr.Niikawa started giving much more passionate responses. His favorite game last year was Pokemon X/Y ,and he joked about how he playing it with his son turning him into a gamer. This is what I should have focused much more of interview on.

I should have been much more flexible with the questions I was asking. Since this was just a casual interview where I could ask anything of interest,  I should have asked questions regardless of his company or the markets. Granted I should talk about what his fans would want to hear, but talking to a Japanese developer about games like Final Fantasy and Pokemon is relevant and interesting to their fans.

When I was writing my article I could tell that I needed to shift focus away from the more industry based questions and talk more about just games in general. Nippon Ichi Software is a small company that focuses on its core fans, so of course they wouldn't have too much to say about the PS4 or mobile games. Their fans are core gamers, and they can't just reveal all their plans for their PS4 game this early.

Though I made mistakes, I am glad they were mistakes I could learn from. I studied business so finding myself doing journalism was not what I expected, but I am thrilled to have this opportunity to improve my communication and writing. This was a great learning experience, especially since Mr.Niikawa and Mr.Terasawa were extremely kind and actually gave me time to ask extra questions since I was the last interview of the day.