First VC-backed Palestinian developer releases debut game

First VC-backed Palestinian developer releases debut game
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

August 27th 2014 at 11:50AM

PinchPoint CEO Khaled Abu Al Kheir describes the challenges it faces making games in the turbulent region

Palestine's first venture capital-backed developer has just released its debut mobile racing game, Spermania - The Race for Life.

The studio is based in the turbulent West Bank in the city of Ramallah. In an interview with The New Yorker, the company’s co-founder and CEO Khaled Abu Al Kheir said developing games in the region can be challenging, with the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel affecting the team’s focus and causing understandable stresses.

The studio also struggles to connect with other developers around the world given there is no airport and they have no control over their borders, meaning travel costs extra time and money.

“This makes it more challenging to plan overseas trips, as well as to connect with foreign video-game studios around the world in order to learn and share our experiences," said Kheir.

He added that another challenge was the “almost non-existent” talent pool for game developers, but feels Palestine is full of “very innovative and out of the box thinkers”.

“Our society is immensely colourful,” said Kheir. “We are used to daily struggles and have a keen awareness of life’s fragility. That brings with it a resolution to make things work in the face of adversity, to persevere and triumph, even against the most overwhelming odds.”