Today ends our weeklong Chain Interview, with EA’s chief defending his choice in cars and Nintendo’s president in the U.S. asking you a question.
The previous chapter of this Chain Interview had concluded with a question EA Sports chief Peter Moore gave me during our Wednesday afternoon interview during E3 week in L.A.
[This post is the fourth in a series that recounts the chain of questions and answers I solicited from the people I interviewed during E3. I asked each of my interviewees to ask a question of the next one. Hence: Chain Interview.]
A mirthful Moore jokingly wanted to know why his boss, EA CEO John Riccitiello could buy en electric car just to guarantee himself one of the only two reserved parking spots at EA. Moore explained to me that these two spots were at a prime location at EA headquarters, marked for electric vehicles. I’m not a car person, so Moore had to explain me what a Tesla is, the brand of fancy electric car that Riccitiello owns.
The next morning, as Riccitiello and I wrapped our interview and the CEO told me he needed to get to his next thing, I asked him to answer Moore’s query.
John Riccitiello responds: “The honest truth? I’ll try the truth. I’m a gigantic believer in the environment. And I’m the CE of a pretty public company. And if everybody knows that I drive one of those things, it makes them think. And that’s exactly why I did it. For good or for bad, that’s why I did it. And I don’t mind the parking space.”
With Riccitiello’s answer in, I thought I had just one more question to obtain. I needed the EA CEO to give me a question for the president of Nintendo of America. The chain was about to end close to where it began, back in Nintendo’s E3 meeting area a few feet away from where Shigeru Miyamoto had started things.
Some context is needed for Riccitiello’s question. Earlier in the week, Nintendo had hosted its annual E3 briefing. As is typical, Fils-Aime was one of the main speakers during the presentation. What was atypical was that many of the invited guests did not get to witness the presentation in person. The press did, inside L.A.’s Club Nokia, but developers, publishers, retailers and other business people had to watch the presentation via video at the nearby Nokia Theatre.
John Riccitiello asks Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime: “Why did you show the development community the video of your presentation but the press the live presentation? What were your considerations?”
I ferried this question to Fils-Aime, who tackled it at the conclusion of our half-hour interview. It should be noted that, by answering, Fils-Aime became the first repeat participant in my Chain Interviews. He was in the first one, too.
Reggie Fils-Aime responds: “Let me give a little bit of background. As we were prepping for this year’s E3 and had the objective of a venue close by, to be convenient for all of the attendees, the options were quite limited. In the end, we chose Club Nokia with the expectation that a house of about 1200 people would be appropriate. Unfortunately, between the media, business partners and guests from around the world, our total invite acceptances ended up being over 3000. So that’s what created the challenge of finding a second venue in very short order, which is why we did that supplemental experience in the theatre. So, we made a tough business decision that it was most important for the media to see it live, and we also made a decision that we would not make hierarchical decisions as to whether any business partners should view it in the Club.
“Said another way, I would have loved to have John in the Club. I would have loved to have had [Activision Blizzard chairman]Bobby [Kotick]in the Club. I would love to have [Activision Blizzard CEO]Mike [Griffiths]in the Club. Where do I draw the line? So we made the business decision to have all of our retailers, all of our other business partners, all of our publishers in Nokia Theatre.”
And so the chain interview would have ended, because I had no one else to interview. But I suggested to Reggie that, if he was interested, we could extend the chain from him to Kotaku’s readers. “I would love to ask the readers a question,” he said.”
Reggie Fils-Aime asks Kotaku’s readers: “In the same vein of Team Ninja working with Nintendo to re-imagine Metroid, what development group would your readers love to see partner and collaborate with Nintendo? And on what franchise?”
I warned Reggie that he’d be raising expectations with a question like that. He laughed. “Maybe it’ll give us some further options on what to consider.”
Please keep the chain going, Kotaku, by answering Reggie.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the Chain Interview.