Saudi Arabia is just getting started with its video game industry acquisitions.
Saudi Arabia is planning to invest another $37.8 billion in the gaming market through its government-funded gaming conglomerate, The Savvy Gaming Group.
According to a new Axios report, more than $13 billion will be set aside for the “acquisition and development of a leading game publisher to become a strategic development partner” and a further $18 billion will be used to secure minority investments in other companies and studios. As for which gaming company could be acquired, Ubisoft is an unlikely target as a reported deal with Chinese conglomerate Tencent is being put together as a way to keep potential competition away.
Savvy has been on a buying spree as of late, investing serious amounts of cash into global organizations while working to build esports organizations and game development studios in the Middle East.
In a press release, Saudi and Savvy officials added that these investments are aimed at diversifying the country’s economy as part of the Vision 2030 strategy. These deals have faced criticism from around the world, due to Saudi Arabia’s record on human rights, Savvy board chairperson Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman being implicated in the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and support for the War in Yemen.
Critics have labeled the acquisitions as an image makeover project for Saudi Arabia, which Savvy CEO Brian Ward has denied.
Saudi Arabia recently invested $1 billion into European giant Embracer group and acquired a 5.01% stake in Nintendo. Beyond those investments, billions of dollars from the fund have also been used to acquire stakes in EA, Activision-Blizzard, and Take-Two Interactive.
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