Saudi investors pile $3 billion into major game publishers

The fund is chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, a self-confessed games fan

The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) has reportedly purchased over $3billion (£2.1billion) worth of stocks in an array of major video game publishers.

In a report by Al Jazeera, the SEC filings of the PIF detail an investment in Activision Blizzard, Take-Two Interactive, and Electronic Arts over the course of the fourth financial quarter of last year.

The fund is chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who has been seen to take an interest in video game companies in the past. His charity, the Mohammad bin Salman Charity Foundation, also owns a 33.3% stake in SNK which is set to rise to a controlling share of 51% ownership in time. SNK’s largest IPs include King of Fighters and Samurai Shodown.

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He has claimed to be “part of the first Saudi generation to grow up playing video games” in a 2016 interview with Bloomberg Businessweek.

Last year, Riot Games entered into a sponsorship partnership with a similar project from Saudi Arabia – Neom. Neom is a project backed by the state that aims to build across $500 billion (£357billion) worth of land using smart technology, inventing new methods along the way.

Riot pulled out of this partnership when they received criticism from fans given the human rights record of the aforementioned project. Controversial allegations surrounded Neom, and Riot claimed they had “moved too quickly”.

The reported SEC filings also elaborate on further investments, including Uber and Live Nation.

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