Saudi Arabian Investment Group To Invest Nearly $38 Billion In Games Industry
Saudi Arabia has big plans for the video games industry. According to the recently announced strategy from the Savvy Gaming Group (which is owned by the state-owned Saudi Public Investment Fund), the country plans to spend $37.8 billion on acquisitions, investments, and creating its own home-grown game studio.
The strategy statement says Savvy has earmarked $13 billion "for the acquisition and development of a leading game publisher to become a strategic development partner," while $18 billion will be used for "minority stake investments in key companies that support Savvy’s game development agenda." A little over $5 billion will go to "mature industry partners who add value and expertise to Savvy's portfolio" and $500 million will go to "industry disrupters" and "esports companies."
This all comes as part of the country's Vision 2030 policy, which includes plans for a global game studio to be launched within Saudi Arabia. The National Gaming and Esports Strategy's ambitious goal is to release 30 competitive games and have 250 game companies operating within the country by 2030, creating over 39,000 jobs.
"Savvy Games Group is one part of our ambitious strategy aiming to make Saudi Arabia the ultimate global hub for the games and esports sector by 2030," said Savvy Gaming Group chairman Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. "We are harnessing the untapped potential across the esports and games sector to diversify our economy, drive innovation in the sector, and further scale the entertainment and esports competition offerings across the Kingdom."
Saudi Arabia, through both the Savvy Gaming Group and the Public Investment Fund, has already made some big investments in gaming. Savvy purchased esports organizations ESL and FaceIT for $1.5 billion earlier this year alongside a billion-dollar stake in Embracer Group.
The Saudi Crown Prince's increasing involvement in the video games industry has drawn concern as bin Salman has been heavily implicated in the murder of journalist and regime critic Jamal Khashoggi.
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