Saudi Arabia has increased its stake in Nintendo, becoming one of the gaming giant’s largest shareholders.
Last May, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) purchased a five per cent share of Nintendo, with money from crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.
At the time, the PIF said the purchase was for “investment purposes” while Nintendo didn’t comment on the deal. However, as Nintendo is a publicly traded company in Japan, it ultimately has no control in who decides to purchase shares in the company.
It’s now been revealed (via Reuters) that the PIF has increased its stake in Nintendo, with Saudi Arabia now owning 6.07 per cent of the company.
In recent years, the PIF has also invested in both Capcom and Nexon while last September, crown prince Mohammed bin Salman announced he would be putting aside 50 billion riyals (£10.9billion) to acquire “a leading game publisher to become a strategic development partner”.
Back in 2020 Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman purchased a third of gaming company SNK, before later upping the stake to 51 per cent. The PIF also reportedly purchased over £2.1billion worth of gaming companies in 2021, including Activision Blizzard, Take-Two and EA.
The PIF is reportedly central to Saudi Arabia’s plans to become less reliant on money from oil.
At the time of the initial investment in Nintendo, Tokyo Securities senior analyst Hideki Yasuda said: “Saudi Arabia has been beefing up efforts to create its own content industry, and this series of investments in Japanese game companies is likely a way for them to learn from Japan.”
However, some fans aren’t happy with the investment because of Saudi Arabia’s history of human rights violations and how it treats members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Last year, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness was been banned in Saudi Arabia over the inclusion of a queer character in the film while Eternals was also banned in the country due to a same-sex kiss scene.
‘We’ve come to know from those repressive regimes that their lack of tolerance is exclusionary to people who deserve to be, not only included but celebrated for who they are, and made to feel a part of a society and a culture and not punished for their sexuality, said Dr Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch. The ban “feels truly out of step with everything that we’ve experienced as a species, let alone where we’re at globally as a culture,” he added.