Saudi Stakes a $50 billion+ claim in the gaming world – Nintendo, Activision, EA | Pocket

Saudi Arabia’s investments in the gaming industry are much larger and more extensive than most people realize. In addition to Savvy Gaming’s well-known purchases, the Saudi Arabian state, through Savvy and the Public Investment Fund (PIF), holds significant stakes in numerous major gaming companies. In fact, games make up over 21% of the PIF’s portfolio.

In this article, we will explore Saudi Arabia’s investments in some of the biggest players in the industry and discuss why global gaming businesses cannot afford to overlook Saudi Arabia and the broader MENA region.

Electronic Arts – $2.98bn (9% as of March 2023)

To start with, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has increased its investment in gaming giant EA by a whopping 55% over the past year. They now hold a stake of around $3 billion, or 9% of EA’s total stock.

Take-Two Interactive – $1.36bn (6.8% to 14.9% as of March 2023)

The PIF also has a significant investment in Take-Two Interactive, the company behind popular games like Grand Theft Auto (GTA) and Zynga’s mobile titles. While the exact stake is unclear, it is estimated to be around $1.36 billion, possibly equating to 15% of the stock.

Activision Blizzard – $3.3bn (roughly 4.9% as of March 2023)

Saudi Arabia’s investment in Activision Blizzard represents about 4.9% of the company, making it the PIF’s second-largest investment. This stake is roughly valued at $3.3 billion.

Nintendo – $3.8bn (8.3% stake as of Feb 2023)

The Saudi investor sees great potential in the Japanese gaming company Nintendo, increasing its stake from 5% to potentially 7-8% earlier this year. This represents an investment of $3.8 billion and makes Saudi Arabia the largest outside investor in Nintendo.

Nexon – 88.5M shares (10.23% stake as of June 2023)

South Korean publisher Nexon, known for games like Maple Story and Dungeon Fighter, has the PIF as its largest external shareholder. The PIF’s stake in Nexon increased from 9.22% to 10.23%, making it a significant investment.

Embracer Group – $1bn (8.1% stake as of June 2022)

Despite a strained relationship between Embracer and Savvy Games Group in the past, the PIF has invested $1 billion in Embracer, acquiring over 8% of the company. This investment could prove beneficial in the future.

NC Soft – $700M (6.69% as of Feb 2022)

The PIF became the fourth-largest shareholder in the South Korean publisher NCSoft in February 2022, with a total investment of approximately $700 million.

SNK Corp – $600M? (96% as of Feb 2022)

In April 2022, the PIF increased its controlling stake in SNK Corp, the publisher of The King of Fighters, to almost full ownership at 96%. The exact value of the investment is uncertain, but estimates suggest around $600 million.

Scopely – $4.9bn (100% as of July 2023)

Scopely, a mobile publisher behind successful games like Star Trek Fleet Command and Marvel Strike Force, recently received a massive $4.9 billion investment from the PIF. This is the largest investment to date and solidifies Saudi Arabia’s position in the mobile gaming market.

ESL & FACEIT – $1.05bn + $500M (100% January 2022)

The PIF’s first major deals through Savvy Games Group were in the esports space. They acquired FACEIT, a London-based esports platform, and ESL Gaming, a major esports event organization based in Germany. The total investment amounted to over $1.5 billion.

Savvy Gaming Fund – $30bn+ to deploy (100%)

Savvy Gaming Fund, backed by the Saudi Arabian state, has a war chest of $38.7 billion, of which around $7 billion has already been spent on various acquisitions. With approximately $30 billion left to deploy, Saudi Arabia has significant resources to further expand its presence in the gaming industry.

It’s possible that all gaming-related investments will eventually be folded into Savvy Games Group, making it an even more influential force in global gaming. Saudi Arabia’s investments have made it a major player in the industry, and there are rumors of their interest in other major companies like Epic Games, Ubisoft, Capcom, and Konami.

It’s worth noting that Saudi Arabia is not the only country in the MENA region investing in gaming. Neighboring countries like the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are also making significant cash injections into the industry. Additionally, countries like Jordan and Egypt are home to companies and talent contributing to the growth of the gaming sector in the region.

With an estimated total investment of $50-52 billion, Saudi Arabia’s investments have solidified its position as a major international player in the gaming industry.