GAMES - Article
14:03 - 22nd January 2015, by NEO Staff

Play-Asia.com Q&A

(Photo: Thomas Wiesinger, founder, and Jan Neuhaeusser, CEO of Play-Asia.com)

NEO: Can you briefly Describe Play-Asia.com for our readers?
Jan Neuhaeusser:
Play-Asia.com is an online retailer that sells video games, toys, movies, and music worldwide. While we have a strong focus on products from Japan and Asia, importing works both ways as we provide access to products from the east to the west and vice versa; our products are in every region possible as we believe that entertainment should not be limited to regional restrictions.

NEO: Play-Asia.com has been around since 2002 - how has the company evolved in this time?
JN:
As the gaming industry is one of the fastest growing industries, we’ve been evolving and adapting alongside the trends and growth of this market. While there is still a strong demand for physical versions of games, this is slowly being replaced by digital downloads, which of course opens up opportunities as well as challenges.
If anything, with the wealth of options consumers have today, being able to tap into the tastes and preferences of all our customers is massive yet rewarding task; we’ve been working on different tools and perspectives to achieve this, and our staff is constantly chasing and predicting trends with the first-hand information we receive.
It is hard to specify how we evolved in a short way as this topic is very complex as every layer of the business is effected and constantly changing. So our biggest achievement is the ability to evolve and develop with the market I’d say.

NEO: What makes Play-Asia.com unique in the world of online retailing?
JN:
While our selection of products and global reach is simply larger than almost all of our competition, we still work hard to make sure that we carry exactly what our customers look for.
And though we are a retailer, we have first-hand information on many titles, as our customers have a tendency to ask us months in advance about information regarding game-specific premiums like pre-order bonuses and limited edition contents.
More importantly though, we proactively engage our customers – whether through our social media, newsletter, and Customer Service platforms, as we think it’s extremely important to empower the customer/retailer relationship with a human aspect often lacking with online retail. We’re also currently reaching out to a very talented translation group so that the jump into importing is something less esoteric, and we hope that this combined with our customer focused attitude is a reassurance can be felt from all around the world.

NEO: What’s been your biggest personal achievement since starting in the company in 2011?
JN:
To be able to look at around and see a young team of very enthusiastic people focused on making a difference in the video-gaming market and providing the highest level of service to our customers. We thrive as a business because we try to make all our decisions from a customer’s perspective, being as we are very much our own customers as well!
Everyone that works here gets just as excited as our customers, if not more, about the latest game releases. It is not uncommon for us to spend ridiculous amounts of time on games like the Dark Souls Series (definitely a personal and office favourite).

NEO: What have been the most popular products in 2014?
JN:
For individual products, we’ve seen a very strong comeback with Japanese releases all the way up to the end of the year; titles like Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment, J-Stars Victory VS, any Super Robot Wars title, Biohazard HD Remaster, Dengeki Bunko, all the Gundam titles (Breaker, Musou & Full Boost) and Godzilla have been in high demand.
We’ve also seen a high interest from our customers with multiple versions of the New Nintendo 3DS, the PS Vita, and the VitaTV - as well as our custom Gamecube controller adaptor for Super Smash Brothers for the WiiU. And speaking of Nintendo, the Zelda Musou (Hyrule Warriors) Treasure Box was also really popular.
But above all else, in terms of popularity, it’s always been with our Weekly Specials and Daily Deals; this is something that keeps our core customers coming back as well as attracting new customers to our services.

NEO: What do you anticipate will be popular in 2015?
JN:
With so many games to look forward to I can only pick the ones I am mostly interested in. The current list, in order, is Bloodborne, Dark Souls 2: Scholars of the First Sin (can’t get enough of this), Final Fantasy Type 0 HD (the FFXV demo!), Dying Light, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Sword Art Online: Lost Song, Bravely Second, Persona 5... Oh God, there is so many and I personally foresee myself giving another life-time away glued to my TV. Is it possible to leave an imprint on an imprint? My couch has already moulded to my body!

NEO: What’s been the company’s biggest seller?
JN:
J-Stars Victory Vs. set a new company record as the bestselling game for Play-Asia.com, and it still gaining ground at this very moment.

NEO: What’s your personal interest in Play-Asia.com‘s products?
JN:
I’ve been a wholehearted gamer my whole life. Through Play-Asia.com, I’ve become even more involved, as having backend knowledge of this industry allows me a sneak peek into the many games I otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to. Though my gaming time is limited and I usually focus on a handful of games per year intensively, I’m apt to try the games that my colleagues are playing – they won’t let me live it down if I don’t. 2014 was clearly dominated by Dark Souls 2 with 200+ hours, and the “Sunbro Gesture” is a permanent fixture here at Play-Asia.com. Praise the Sun!

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