Savvy’s $38B plan to make Saudi Arabia a global gaming hub
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Savvy Games Group (SGG) unveiled plans to invest SAR 142 billion — ~$38 billion — through 2030 to propel Saudi Arabia to the forefront of the global gaming and esports ecosystem.
The firm plans to split its investment across four different programs. About $13.3 billion will go to acquiring and developing a leading games publisher. Nearly $18.7 billion will go to minority stakes in other game publishers. Another $533 million is set aside for growing early-stage gaming and esports companies. Finally another $5.3 billion will support more mature companies that provide Savvy with strategic partnerships.
SGG indicated these funds will be delivered by five of their subsidiaries:
- Nine66, a professional services provider for game developers
- VOV, an architectural firm specializing gaming and esports venues
- An upcoming studio that will publish mid/core games
- ESL FACEIT Group (EFG), the esports tournament conglomerate formed from the $1.5 billion merger between ESL Group (ESL and DreamHack) and FACEIT
- Savvy Games Fund – Savvy’s investment arm that will focus on establishing developers in Saudi Arabia
SGG is an offshoot of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) with His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz serving as Chairman of the Board. The fund has already acquired significant stakes in Nintendo, Capcom, Nexon and Embracer Group. With these additional funds SGG plans to establish 250 games companies in the Saudi Arabia, creating 39,000 jobs and raising the sector’s GDP contribution to about $13.3 billion by 2030.
Saudi Arabia and SGG intend to use these investments to diversify the energy-focused economy. However, they are likely to be met with controversy. Many have accused Saudi Arabia of both “sportswashing” and “esportswashing” — investing in entertainment products to distract from their human rights record.
But with $38 billion to spend, it will be difficult for many to say no to a cash influx. Savvy Games Group is in a unique position to shape the future of the gaming and esports industries through at least 2030.
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