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“Play A High End Gaming Computer In The Cloud” With Mike Fischer

Shadow’s vision is to change the way the world uses computers, starting with games. We liberate our customers from the limitations of buying and maintaining a physical device. And we let our users control their content — what they put on a Shadow PC and where they get it is up to them. We believe […]

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Shadow’s vision is to change the way the world uses computers, starting with games. We liberate our customers from the limitations of buying and maintaining a physical device. And we let our users control their content — what they put on a Shadow PC and where they get it is up to them. We believe in maximum gamer freedom.

As a part of our series about what’s around the corner for the toy, game, and video game industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike Fischer.

Mike Fischer has over twenty-five years of experience as an executive leader in digital content and interactive entertainment in Asia, Europe and the US. As a pioneer in the gaming industry, Mike started his career at the Tokyo HQ of Sega with other notable stops at Bandai Namco, Xbox, Square Enix (CEO) and Epic Games (Head of Publishing). Now as Shadow’s CEO, his mission is to take the company to new heights and fortify its position as a market leader in the cloud computing space.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share the “backstory” behind what brought you to this particular career path?

I’ve loved video games all my life — starting from Pong and never stopping. I decided to pursue a career in games while still in college — at 19 years old. I was an engineering student at a university program focused on the defense industry. I decided that I did not want to make weapons, and would do the exact opposite — make projects that brought people joy. I changed my focus to business and wrote my senior thesis on “Modeling revenue for the toy and game business.”

I graduated with no job prospects in sight, so I bought a one way ticket to Japan (I couldn’t afford a round-trip ticket), and taught English for two years while I knocked on the door of every game company in the country. I got lucky and was able to join Sega right as the Genesis (Mega Drive) launched around the world.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most talented creators in video games, as well as some remarkable people like Michael Jackson (Moonwalker) and Ayrton Senna (Monaco GP 2). I even had US president Bill Clinton hold a press conference where he showed an ad for one of my games. Let’s just say he didn’t like it.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Early in my career, I was influenced by the leadership of Tom Kalinske at Sega of America. He took a product that was failing in the market, and turned it into a hit by breaking every rule both inside Sega and in the market. There is a great book now (Console Wars) that tells the story.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I’m most proud of my work teaching in the interactive media department at the University of Southern California, mentoring a new generation of diverse, thoughtful and creative game creators. I also have traveled the world on a program with the US State Department evangelizing video games as a meaningful form of creative expression, connecting with game creators in places like Sri Lanka, Bahrain, and Kazakhstan.

Ok fantastic. Let’s now move to the main focus of our discussion. Can you tell us about the technological innovations in gaming that you are working on?

We are now expanding our rollout of our Ultra and Infinite service tiers, which offer even more high-performance gaming than our entry-level Boos tier (which is still incredibly powerful on it’s own). We are also always working behind the scenes to improve the technical performance for all our customers. Some things may not even be announced, but behind the scenes create an ever-improving customer experience.

How do you think this might disrupt the status quo?

Shadow’s vision is to change the way the world uses computers, starting with games. We liberate our customers from the limitations of buying and maintaining a physical device. And we let our users control their content — what they put on a Shadow PC and where they get it is up to them. We believe in maximum gamer freedom.

You, of course, know that games and toys are not simply entertainment, but they can be used for important purposes. What is the “purpose” or mission behind your company? How do you think you are helping people or society?

Throughout my life and my career, I’ve been driven by a personal brief that games are good for society. They bring people together across borders, they allow people to express their creative vision in new ways, and they bring joy to billions of players. Shadow allows more people to experience games, by making high-performance gaming more affordable, and free from the limitations of any physical device.

I’m very interested in the interface between games and education. How do you think more people (parents, teachers etc.) or institutions (work, school etc.) can leverage toys or gamification to enhance education?

Games have a powerful ability to allow users to experience other stories, cultures and history. I was incredibly moved by the story of the Iranian revolution told through the game 1979 Revolution: Black Friday. One of my former students at USC is now working on a VR experience that puts plates in the shoes of a father and son pulled over by the police (https://www.ouramericavr.com/) . Experiences like this can really help build understanding in a way that traditional education can’t.

How would you define a “successful” game or toy? Can you share an example of a game or toy that you hold up as an aspiration?

Any game or toy that brings joy or happiness to even one person is a success in my book. For me personally, the game I admire most is Marble Madness. It must be over 30 years old now, but it’s simplicity and challenge are as great as any game I’ve played since.

What are the “5 Things You Need to Know To Create a Successful Game” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Create something new — don’t try to repeat someone elses success
  2. Simple is best — don’t assume the player knows everything you do about your game
  3. Simple is best — just in case I didn’t make it clear enough the first time
  4. Don’t count on an investor to fund your idea. Build it on your own, even if it is simple and crude. Once you have a game that can be played and enjoyed, go find supporters to make it better.
  5. Think big — your market size is the whole world

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I want more families to play games together, and more games that families CAN play together.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

You need to use a big hook to catch a big fish.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I am always on Reddit (up to 50k Karma), but I’ll never share my username!

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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