Last week, Lebanese entrepreneur Reine Abbas of Wixel Studios was named one of the five most powerful women in gaming by Inc.com. Abbas stands alongside other notable gaming stars Alisa Chumachenko (Russia), Kellee Santiago (Venezuela), Heather Kelley (U.S.), and Julie Uhrman (U.S.), who even created her own gaming console crowdfunded for $8.6 million via Kickstarter.
“Being recognized in this tough field means that your success is not measured geographically. Having my name alongside these four wonderful women is such a great honor,” says Abbas.
While touring Wixel Studios (see below), we chatted with Abbas about her latest creation, Survival Race, which she designed alongside co-founders Ziad Feghali (her husband) and Karim Abi Saleh. As art director for the project, she developed all of the 3D design work for the mobile game, which launched on April 8, 2013.
Abbas offers a strong model for women entrepreneurs lookking to break into the gaming industry, where women are increasingly a target market. Many women are now jumping in to develop their own titles, like Palestinian developer Rasha Hussein, who just won the Udacity HTML 5 Game Development Contest.
“With the rise of the gaming industry in the Middle East, this is the right moment [for women] to show our potential in general and in the gaming industry specifically,” says Abbas. When asked how she thinks women can gain a more prominent role in the game development field, she said, "This is a current research project I'm conducting. But with the low percentage of females in the global game field, one thing is sure: we have to find the key to growing these numbers fast."
Although the industry has a ways to go to see gender parity, women like Abbas are paving the way for future women to innovate in the market.
Check out our tour of Wixel Studios and an interview with Abbas in the video below.