SHADOW's Chief Strategy Officer Sébastien Kaiser has told us about the company's cloud solutions, explained how they can be leveraged by game creators, and shared their plans for the future.
SHADOW was launched in 2015, but underwent a leadership change in mid-2021. SHADOW provides democratizing access to a powerful virtual PC in the cloud. At the beginning, SHADOW was designed for gamers; now, we are enlarging the number of targets.
SHADOW holds quite a unique position in the market, as we provide users with a powerful Windows PC you can access remotely with a high-quality streaming experience, high resolution, and high frame rate, without noticeable latency. Shadow PC is available on multiple devices, from computers and tablets to smartphones, smart TVs and VR, and on all platforms, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and more. Today, Shadow PC is the definitive cloud platform for gamers, creatives and businesses, with availability in 14 countries, through 8 distinct data centers (in the US, Canada, France and Germany).
SHADOW is often compared to cloud gaming services, but we're not another cloud gaming service. SHADOW is a cloud computing platform, providing users with a full PC in the cloud, rather than a closed catalog of games.
Given the success of Shadow PC with the gaming community and the growing need for high-end computing power by professionals, SHADOW has launched a new vertical, Shadow for Makers, which is dedicated to individuals who need more power to build and create all they need and want, no matter their location.
In January, SHADOW acquired Genymobile and its “Android as a Service” platform, which is widely used by hundreds of thousands of Android developers as a tool for testing and Quality Assurance. Genymobile is very well-known in the tech community for CI/CD things on Android. Genymobile’s unique knowledge on the Android platform and expertise on virtualization will accelerate SHADOW’s roadmap and increase its industrial competitiveness.
In mid-2021, SHADOW recorded double digital revenue growth, and expanded its market from the company’s initial focus on gamers into a more generalized audience in B2C and B2B, including education, as well.
The Solution and Customers
For now, SHADOW is not a white-label solution, but, for example in education, it can be something that should come up because the universities could be interested to have something that is hidden behind and providing the competing power of the need for students that they can't afford because our business model is very easy.
Specifically for B2B, you also need a Fleet Management System, with identity access management. This is why we have what we call the Shadow Business Manager, which is our very own B2B cloud PC fleet management system.
As of now, you need a client, and so you go to a website, you register as a new client, and you get access. In the future, we work on a browser version as well, but both will remain. You will still have a heavyweight client because we are able to do things that WebRTC does not allow. It's much more powerful. We are very, very good at video streaming, latency, network management, and so on, to make sure you have the best experience possible.
Our competitor’s offerings are much more expensive with less flexibility. SHADOW offers a similar service at a fraction of that cost. For roughly $40 a month, users gain access to a virtual PC, one gigabyte of bandwidth, your storage, anything, and a Windows license. SHADOW works with each customer to provide custom-built projects to meet their specific needs.
A few specific use cases include Mac users utilizing Shadow to have access to the Windows catalog. As for universities or schools in France, they don't have a lot of money, so they can just bring a Raspberry Pi and install Shadow cloud.
Additionally, SNCF Réseau, the management subsidiary of France's national railway, partnered with SHADOW to develop a cloud/VR-based solution, Shadow VR, the industry’s first cloud PC app for virtual reality headsets. SNCF Réseau used Shadow VR to set up an 3D model application enabling a more cost-effective solution, with availability in standalone VR headsets, making it easier to train the trainees, and alleviating the logistical complexity.
And we are also advancing in Spot Computing and using our computing power for asynchronous AI training or whatsoever, you know, on the spot. And we are planning to use it for gaming areas and put the tech into swarm-like engines like Unreal Engine 5.
In order to streamline the challenging game development process, SHADOW has come up with two different offerings, Echo Session and Virtual Booth.
Echo Session is a flexible, controlled and secure testing and demo solution, available from the cloud. Echo Session is the solution that Bandai Namco used for Elden Ring reviews in Europe. SHADOW was able to successfully preview the wildly-popular Elden Ring to several hundred journalists without having to overcome the technological barriers that a physical PC running the game would require.
With Echo Session, users don't have access to the Windows launcher, as the technology enables them to jump into the game, with everything the player could need on the screen, which is streamed and controlled by Bandai Namco. This way, SHADOW could ensure that the testing conditions were good, and provided journalists with the freedom to test the game on the device of their choosing.
Virtual Booth is the ultimate tool for publishers and studios that want to create momentum around their title without the costs and limitations of a physical event. The question that this technology answers is, “How to get viral very early in the game in a controlled environment?” Through Virtual Booth, our game publishers can get a mass reach without exposing any risk and gathering a lot of data at the same time.
You have a booth, for example, at Gamescom, and maybe Bandai pays for one million dollars for a booth for a couple of days, and during this period, you have 10,000 players that can come and play, but you don't have any feedback on what's happening, and you just can welcome 10,000 people at most. And on the gamer side, people are coming and waiting for five or six hours to have a chance to play 15 minutes, and that's it.
Virtual Booth allows developers to reach 100K gamers at once, for as much time as the gamers want, all while gathering all the feedback the developers request. From the gamer’s perspective, they have the ability to play the game and communicate live on Twitch or whatever they want to do on this game at the same time. This project will be ready for this fall.