Industry Spotlight: Ryan Phillips, NIS America

Have you ever wanted to learn more about the gaming industry and the people who help it run? Then you are in luck, as PlayStation LifeStyle is starting up a brand new feature called Industry Spotlight, where we hand pick an elite member of the gaming industry and force them into answering some extremely tough questions. To be honest the questions aren’t that tough.

Our first victim, I mean guest speaker, is Ryan Phillips of NIS America fame. We recently sat down with this Prinny lover to see just what he does for NIS America and what it is like working in the gaming industry.

PSLS: What is your title and job description at NIS America?

Ryan: My current title here at NISA is PR/Marketing coordinator. For the PR side, a great deal of it entails maintaining contact with all our current media/press to make sure they all get review copies, press releases, new game shots/videos, etc. for the US & Europe. Another part of the position is to attend conventions ie. TGS, E3, GDC, Anime Expo, so traveling is part of my job too. The social element of the position is pretty fun, as you get to interact with a lot of people in the gaming/anime industry. Marketing-wise, we work to help expand our fan-base by designing magazine/online ads, publishing our company newsletter, and making promotional bonus items for our online store. Other things that I handle are the logistics of setting up Anime Expo in Los Angeles each year (including driving a gigantor 24’ truck), footage for our games, working with vendors for our online store bonus items, and anime convention contact.

How long have you been working in the game inudstry?

Next month will be 2 years in the industry. I started at NISA as a game tester mid-2010 and then moved on up into my current position in our marketing team soon afterwards. I previously worked in the finance world, but this industry is incredibly more interesting and happy on the whole. I’m here to stay!

What is an everyday shift as a PR Coordinator like?

To be honest, every day is a new adventure at NIS America. We publish a lot of titles and anime, so we constantly have a lot of projects going on at the same time – which means that the things I work on change constantly from day to day. However, each day I usually spend a small portion of the morning responding to press emails for both games and anime. Outside of that, I publish the company newsletter multiple times weekly, so usually I will work on the graphic text/coding and prepare it for publishing. On top of that, if we are announcing or having a title launch, I will work with Nao to make a press release to include in the newsletter and to send to press. Lately it’s been approaching Anime Expo, so I’ve been working with contractors to help build our booth. Next month is also E3, so we’ve been slowly making plans to meet up with various media on the floor to showcase our titles once the event begins. Lastly, one of the things I really like to do is to work with the marketing team to think of cool new bonus items for our online store – some of the funniest and most random ideas get thrown out there in the meetings!

What is the coolest event you have ever helped set up?

Last year we rented out a large movie theater in downtown San Francisco to announce a bunch of new titles (Bleach: Soul Resurrección, Atelier Totori, Disgaea 4) and we had Bleach playable on the bigscreen! It was really cool to rent out a whole theater, but being able to play games on the bigscreen was a pretty awesome experience. I’d have to say that event, or last year’s Anime Expo were definitely awesome events. It is a lot of planning and work, but once it happens, it’s amazing!

What is the best game you have ever helped promote?

I was pretty green to the Disgaea universe when I joined NIS America, however, after a few years I really do have a deep appreciation for not only the games, but for the fans that support the series. Disgaea has a huge following worldwide, so being able to help promote Disgaea 4’s release was a pretty intense/awesome experience.

I am sure you give out a lot of swag.  What is the coolest piece of it you have ever handed out?

Bar-none it’d have to be the Prinny panties for our PSP release of Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, dood. We had a fan-submitted contest where they submitted designs of what the panties should look like, and the winning design was printed onto a thong. The winning entries received it, along with some of our media. It’s definitely my favorite so far!

The Disgaea series has been a huge cult classic for NIS America, what character from the serious is your favorite?

Hmm, this is a tough one. If I had to go with just one, I’m going to have to the Prinnies. They really provide a lot of the punchlines for a lot of humor in the series, and I find myself rooting for them all the time. Working with the newsletter a lot, I’ve used Prinnies to really help add just the right touch or angle to complete the comic and or graphic. Plus, exploding penguins are just about the best things ever.

What games are you currently playing?

Lately I’ve been checking out early builds of our upcoming title Legasista (PS3) and also Mugen Souls (PS3). One of the perks of the job is to play the games way ahead of time ^^. Both will be out later this year so I’m definitely excited to begin promoting them in the upcoming months!

Who is the coolest person you have met so far working in the industry?

Everyone I’ve met so far in the gaming & anime industry have been absolutely awesome. One person that I did get a chance to meet through work and hang out with for a bit was Daisuke Amaya (Pixel) who created Doukutsu Monogatari (Cave Story). We published Cave Story 3D, so when we were in San Francisco for GDC in 2011 with Nicalis, we got to have lunch with him and had some time to chat. He’s an incredibly interesting and approachable person!

What advice would you give to someone looking to get their foot in the door?

I entered the industry via QA with game testing, so I’d have to say this is a definite way to get your foot in the door. It allowed me to get to know the people in the office/company, and gave me a lot of insight as to what happens behind the scenes with video games. I definitely encourage anyone who is interested in joining the industry to give testing a go, as for me it was a rewarding experience and gave me a deeper appreciation towards video games.