Mahmoud Khasawneh – Founder and CEO
Mahmoud is the founder and CEO of Quirkat; he is a senior video games executive with experience in the contractual and publishing aspects of the industry. Mahmoud founded Quirkat, together with games designer Candide Kirk, on the premise of creating a new player in the video games market originating from a region rich in culture and history. The Middle East presented to him an opportunity to bring new and fresh story telling angles to gamers worldwide. The company’s debut PC title, Arabian Lords, did just that, and the company’s follow up titles drew a lot of artistic and theme inspiration from the region.
Mahmoud has successfully negotiated and secured publishing deals for the company with international games publishers and has established the company as a licensed PlayStation (PS Vita and PS3) and Nintendo developer.
Mahmoud is a member of the Casual Connect Asia and Dubai World Game Expo Advisory Boards. He has spoken in many international conferences, representing the industry in the Middle East. His latest talk was at the GDC 2012 in San Francisco.
Mahmoud has 20+ years’ experience in technology and technology management. Prior to forming Quirkat, in his capacity as the CIO of Government, he founded and led Jordan’s e-Government Program for four years. Other highlights of his career include the positions of CTO at an Interactive TV Services startup in the UK, and Chief Technical Architect with EDS for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. Mahmoud is a graduate of the George Washington University in DC, USA.
Candide Kirk – Co-founder and Studio Head
Candide is a British/Jordanian video games producer and designer. She is the Studio Head of Quirkat, which she co-founded with Mahmoud Khasawneh, the company’s CEO. Being half Arab, her in-depth knowledge of the Middle Eastern culture, language and demographic has enabled her to tap into and benefit from rich game storylines and distinct artistic flavours.
Candide runs the daily operations of the studio’s design and development activities and is the lead designer on all the company’s games. Her credits include Pro Foosball for PS3/Move, Word Blocked for PSM, MENA Speed and Basha Card Games Collection for PSP minis, Arabian Lords; the Middle East’s largest and most successful PC title to date; and the company’s iOS and Android games; including: Zonkt!, Al-Moosiqar (The Musician), among others.
Candide played a lead role in expanding the company’s resource network to include Dubai, Amman and the UK. Her team is an international mix of Arab and European developers.
Prior to co-founding Quirkat, Candide played an instrumental part as a technology consultant in shaping the CIO Office at the Ministry of ICT in Jordan. She led international cross-Governmental cooperation efforts mainly focused on transferring knowledge and technical know-how to the Kingdom, in addition to her role as a strategic advisor to the e-Government Program.
Candide is a graduate of Computer Systems Engineering from Sussex University in Brighton.