Saudi Arabia has announced plans to invest heavily in the gaming industry. The investment will reportedly be funded through the Savvy Games Group, a company wholly owned by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF).
Earlier this year, the Saudi Arabian government launched the Savvy Games company as a strategy to boost the country’s presence in the gaming and e-sports industry. Not long after this launch, Savvy Group purchased e-sports companies Faceit and ESL for $1.5 billion as part of its initiatives to expand its gaming footprint. The planned $37 billion investment is yet another strategy to enhance Saudi Arabia’s gaming industry through Savvy Group.
Breakdown of the Investment
According to a statement by Saudi Press Agency, the investment is expected to be funnelled across numerous channels. The investments will also depend on four vital pillars: generating sustainable investment returns, increasing local impact, creating and expanding a global footprint, and enabling Saudi Arabian creators at every step of the value chain. More importantly, the Saudi Arabian government stated that the ultimate goal of this investment is to make Saudi Arabia a global hub for e-sports by 2030.
The government will spread the SAR 142 billion ($37.7 billion) investment across four critical programs with clear objectives. SAR 50 billion ($13 billion) will be dedicated to the acquisition of a leading game publisher. Savvy Group also intends to use SAR 70 billion ($18 billion) to make minority stake investments in prominent gaming companies to further its gaming strategy. Additionally, the group will funnel SAR 2 billion ($532 million) into early-stage investment companies. This investment is expected to help position Savvy Group as a significant venture capital player in the gaming industry. Lastly, SAR 20 billion ($5 billion) will be invested in mature gaming and e-sports companies with the capacity to add value to Savvy Group’s portfolio. The Saudi Arabian government has also stated that the investments will be executed through Savvy Group’s primary subsidiaries: EFG, Nine66, VOV Company, and the Savvy Games Fund. The government expects that the investments will help improve knowledge transfer and increase gaming capabilities in the country. More specifically, the gaming investment is expected to contribute over 250 companies to Saudi Arabia, create over 39,000 jobs, and increase the gaming sector’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution to SAR 50 billion ($13 billion) by 2030.
This investment announcement comes days after Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince launched a gaming and e-sports strategy. According to the Kingdom’s government, the strategy is expected to anchor the creation of over 30 globally competitive games. The government aims to position Saudi Arabia as a global games leader and one of the top three countries with the highest professional e-sports players. The government will execute the strategy through 86 initiatives covering over 20 public and private companies. More importantly, the gaming strategy will help diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy and provide an entertainment source for the kingdom’s citizens and tourists.
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