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    2023.01.12 The Originality

    Game Business Development & Marketing, NC Japan, Miura Wataru

    <THE ORIGINALITY> is a series about NC’s new generation — they are immersed in their jobs where they find inspiration. They pave the way towards excellence and then aim even higher.

    People at NC freely express themselves and achieve growth by challenging themselves to new experiences.

    If I were to compare myself to a game character, I would be a character with a high intelligence stat. Nothing is impossible if you change your perspective. ‘Can't’ is nothing but a mental barrier. It's important to borrow the abilities of the people around you, and to lend your own abilities, too. Problem-solving becomes much easier when you can discuss difficult problems with the people around you.

    Game Business Development & Marketing, NC Japan, Miura Wataru

    Game Business Development & Marketing

    I manage game business and marketing at NC Japan. I’m responsible for <Lineage>, <Lineage 2>, <Aion: The Tower of Eternity>, <Blade & Soul>, etc. and do business strategy planning for launching new titles in Japan.

    MMORPGs are games you play for a long time, so you have to think in the long term. It is especially important to focus on what the player needs to continuously enjoy the game. The immersion in game content, player movement and placement, game environment, community development, etc. are all different aspects that need to be considered in marketing strategy planning. To realize them, NC Japan closely cooperates with the HQ development team, business team, and other related departments.

    Planning Starts with Data

    Content and event planning starts with gathering player data and reviewing community reactions. In-game currency, levels, weapons, events, etc. may all change depending on the data. Issues are also analyzed so that they can be improved in future.

    Once you have finished planning your strategy, you start communicating it to your target audience. To ensure successful communication, you need to think of a clear message and create appealing visuals that will help you communicate your strategy to as many players as possible. Content and messages that increase game immersion for existing players must also be created. Lastly, you make monthly and annual reviews and manage the results.

    Possibilities in a Changing Market

    The Japanese game culture has developed very exclusively and independently. Even though the culture has received global popularity, there are many cases where there has been a different reaction in Japan. That is why it is important to understand not only games, but also the feelings towards anime and character-related culture, as it needs to be reflected in the local strategy.

    The Japanese game market began with console games. As for RPGs, there is more focus on solo-player games than multiplayer, and because of the popularity of anime, games made in a cuter style tend to be more popular. Compared to players from other countries, Japanese players have less gaming experience when it comes to MMORPGs that require multiple players.

    However, with the gradual development of media, the familiarity and experience with global games is increasing, especially among the younger generations. This kind of flow is something that NC expects to be a positive development in the Japanese market.

    In-depth Understanding over Surface Explanations

    Becoming in Charge of My Favorite Game

    I dreamed of becoming a writer when I was young. It was fun to fantasize to my heart's content through text. At the same time, I enjoyed playing games so much that I once entered the national contest for the fighting game <Tekken>. It was only natural for me to start studying game design in university where I could combine storytelling and games.

    I like games with strong action elements and where you can beat opponents through control. Among those games, <Aion> is the one I have played the longest. When I first entered NC, I was in charge of web planning, and not <Aion>. But even though I was not working on <Aion>, I liked it so much that I kept approaching it with ideas. I kept making suggestions and bringing forth ideas, until one day I was suddenly the one in charge.

    Uncovering the Fundamentals of the Game

    There was some trial and error when I was transferring over from web planning to business management. Applying my actual knowledge was difficult, however I managed to overcome that uneasy period in my career thanks to games — when it came to playing games, I was more confident than any other player.

    There are countless complicated items and products in MMORPGs. In order to find out what is fun and appeals to players, I had to become a player myself not because it was my job but because I wanted to have an in-depth understanding.

    As I played the game, I knew by intuition what content captivated players. I could also see in real time how the feelings of other players changed depending on the situation by talking to them. After playing the game, I compared my experience with real data and ended up planning new content based on those insights.

    Implementing Ideas through Action

    For me, new ideas come from action. Whenever I watch an animation, read manga, or play a game, I try to analyze the content and understand why I think this is fun. I would then write sentences, symbols, and make sketches with a pen and paper to find clues.

    Once I find a fun idea, I test it out. I do promotional planning and make sample programs that I test. I also try to create videos and banner designs by myself. Thankfully, the culture at NC allows me to put all these ideas out there and try them. If you think hard enough about an idea in qualitative or quantitative terms and make suggestions freely, you can achieve great outcomes.

    Value Growth through Interaction

    "Can't" is a Mental Barrier

    If I were to compare myself to a game character, I would be a character with a high intelligence stat. I hold myself to a high standard. I do not make compromises when it comes to something that I want to do. I also believe that nothing is impossible if you change your perspective.

    I was not always like that, though. I used to hesitate in the past when a new challenge appeared. However, as I became more experienced, I realized that I had been underestimating myself. We are capable of much more than we think, and “can't" is nothing but a mental barrier.

    But you can't do everything by yourself, of course. It is important to borrow the abilities of the people around you, and to lend your own abilities, too. It becomes much easier to respond to challenges when you can discuss difficult problems with your coworkers and bosses.

    The Most Valuable Content is Player Interaction

    A weapon acquired through the combined effort of multiple players is a more valuable experience than a reward earned by defeating opponents alone. This type of experience is the most important aspect of an MMORPG.

    My role is to facilitate the interaction between players. I want to create more opportunities for players to communicate with each other, and with the operations team. This includes activities that increase community communication, such as events that incite cooperation or competition between players, live streams where players can interact directly with the operations team, etc.

    NC Games Bringing Joy to Japanese Players

    The number of Japanese players that now enjoy NC games has increased, but there's still much that needs to be done.

    The goal is to contribute to the rapid growth of new and already existing NC games in the Japanese market. Towards that goal, we will be forming and establishing a local marketing strategy based on a complete understanding of what Japanese players enjoy.

    I believe that anyone who tries to play an NC game at least once will feel a substantial joy, and I will do my best to convey the joy of NC games to as many Japanese players as possible.

    * The content stated in this interview is the personal opinion of the interviewee and does not represent the official position of NCSOFT.