Faisal Al-Kubaisi: Supporting the Growth of Qatar’s Digital Gaming and Entertainment Industry

Millions of people, especially children and youngsters, really love to play games on their phones, computers and various devices today. They love role-playing as heroes protecting their people from dangers, escaping into adventures, exploring lively landscapes and intriguing mysteries. All this entertainment, enjoyment, relaxation and education is created and brought to countless people by the digital gaming industry.

In today’s digital gaming industry, we can see certain themes repeating like prominent gaming brands continually succeeding, an obsession with thrilling gameplay experiences and having better visuals or graphics. One of the most unfortunate themes in gaming today is the portrayal of Muslims as the “bad guys” in certain gaming genres like warfare. Even when most people around the world fail to realize this easily, it’s very hurtful, insensitive and offensive to members of the Muslim community.

Faisal Al-Kubaisi
Faisal Al-Kubaisi, CEO and Co-founder, Space Crescent

Thankfully, there are a few entrepreneurs from the Muslim community, coming forward to encourage positive opinions, themes and messages about their people. We have Mr. Faisal Al-Kubaisi, a lover of digital games and a young entrepreneur from Qatar, enriching the nation’s digital gaming and entertainment industry. Mr. Faisal is a passionate game developer—he is the CEO and co-founder of ‘Space Crescent’, a small independent group of Qatari professionals specializing in web, mobile and console gaming development. With his leadership, the company has been creating easy-to-play, simple, fun and educational games to gently teach lessons from Arab culture and history to the younger generation.

Arising from a Love of Gaming

“I grew up loving video games. I slowly became curious about how these games were made. I started to read and to learn about this. Back then, there were only very few tools, resources, frameworks and game engines available to us. As I studied in my university. I started making PC games as a hobby,” Mr. Al-Kubaisi says. After graduating in 2013, he met Mr. Abdulrahman Al-Thani, a local artist also deeply passionate about gaming. They decided to start working together and make their own fun games to represent Arab culture, lessons and values to everyone in a positive light.

The team spent about two years to create their very first 2-dimensional, side-scrolling platformer game inspired by classic retro-style games from the 1990s like the Super Mario Bro’s series. As they did, they were contacted by another local gaming studio named Girnaas, looking for recruitments and game development support. They made an agreement to create fun games for the studio, in exchange for sharing revenue. But eventually, the studio could only provide some financial support, marketing support and guidance with intellectual property rights. By better understanding crucial aspects of the profession, they realized that they could set up their own company.

The team officially registered Space Crescent in 2015. “At Space Crescent, we do in-house game development to create 2-dimensional games for various categories and genres like adventure, casual, educational and brand-related. We brainstorm, we create game development documents, we create game assets, we publish these games and research markets,” Mr. Al-Kubaisai says. The company offers low-cost game development services, so customers need to pay for services they really need.

Since setting up the company in 2015, they have started looking for talented individuals locally and from surrounding countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. They are bringing together people having a love for playing digital games, wanting to create fun digital games as well as understanding the region’s culture and language. Their group of varied creative professionals share one mission or purpose: to enrich the digital entertainment industry of the region through high-quality digital entertainment, creating educational games, raising awareness about gaming and sharing knowledge of game development.

Their very first game named “Hamad & Sahar” has been very successful. It’s very similar to the classic, retro-style Mario Bro’s games, but bringing together Arab sensibilities, with endearing characters, fantasy-like landscapes, all along the background of traditional Arab folktales. Their other games like ‘Rising Rabbits’, ‘Balloons Ninja’, ‘Fanajeel’, ‘Failing Bowling’ and ‘Sports Day Heroes’ have become very popular with people as well.

Approaching an Even Brighter Future

With the passion and leadership of Mr. Al-Kubaisi, Space Crescent has been working to make Qatar’s gaming industry a much better place. They have been working to introduce healthy and positive Arab characters and stories to people through their games. Along with making fun games to gently teach Arab culture, lessons and values, the company also wants to teach young children various important topics for example: speaking, reading and writing in the Arabic language.

Slowly, the company has been making more and more connections with other game developers in the neighboring regions, especially by collaborating with companies of the Middle East and North Africa regions. They are also helping other developers make their own games through consultancy services.

Since 2018, the company has become more and more interested in making educational games and gamification products. They are facing a bright future today, having become an emerging gaming company of Qatar. “With people increasingly using smartphones and smart tablets, I believe the future will open many more doors for the digital entertainment industry. I look forward to improving our gamification concepts and sharing our knowledge with the younger generation,” Mr. Al-Kubaisi concludes, hinting at a bright future.