Founder and CEO of Pixelmatic, a game development company, Samson Mow has the dream job that anyone who grew up playing video games fantasizes about. We caught up with the incredibly talented Mow to find out more…
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I was born in Victoria, BC, and my life has largely been split between Shanghai and Vancouver. I got my start in the game industry working on AAA RTS titles like Dawn of War and Company of Heroes before transitioning to online strategy games and social games like Castle & Co and The Smurfs & Co.
I’m the founder and CEO of Pixelmatic, a game development company with offices in Shanghai and Vancouver. We launched our first title, Gem Wizard, in Japan last year and will be following it up with our worldwide release very soon.
How did Pixelmatic come to life? What made you start it and how did you get it off the ground?
Pixelmatic originally came to life as a side project when I gathered a few friends in 2008 to work on Facebook apps and games. We built and launched a social network for gamers which sat on top of Facebook, but shortly after launching we decided to put things on hold. I was headhunted for a position at Ubisoft and Cong Ly (our CTO) was accepted to the master’s program at SFU.
We regrouped in late 2011 to re-establish Pixelmatic and focus on social mobile games because we saw an opportunity in the market for games that emphasize connecting people. Many games still deliver very solo experiences and that’s something we’re working towards changing. In 2012, we secured a round of seed funding and starting staffing up our main development team in Shanghai. Since then, we have been building up our tech and working on our first title.
What are the biggest challenges and best rewards about what you do?
Game development is always challenging because you’re trying to build something that is fun and there’s no set formula for that. The rewarding part is that you get to create experiences that people around the world can enjoy.
What are your favourite video games of all time?
StarCraft, Unreal Tournament, and Lineage II. I was a pretty hardcore player for all of those titles.
What were some of your favourite games as a kid?
All of the titles in the Mega Man and Super Mario Bros. franchises.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Coffee, quality, and organization. As most people that have worked with me will attest, I’m a very demanding perfectionist.
What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
Shintori in Shanghai. There’s no sign, no visible door, and you need to enter a secret code on an unmarked panel to get inside. It helps that the food is pretty good too.