Esports: Savvy investments made

The Saudi Esports Federation plans to pour $38 billion into becoming a hub.getty images

Saudi Arabia has entered the worlds of gaming and esports through its Public Investment Fund, making big-time investments in some companies and acquiring others. By “investing to elevate the Kingdom & uplift the world,” as it put it in a recent statement, Saudi Arabia is trying to show that it can be the center of technological advancement, including gaming and esports. 

Last month, the Saudi Esports Federation announced it was joining the country’s Vision 2030, with the goal of investing $38 billion to become a global hub in esports and gaming. The PIF, via Savvy Gaming Group, has already invested over a billion dollars in esports and gaming and now owns the largest tournament organization through its ESL Faceit Group. Savvy Gaming Group’s investments include: 

ESL Faceit Group

Investment: Acquisition
Cost: $1.5 billion

This acquisition brought three of the largest esports tournament organizers under one umbrella, becoming the largest of its kind in the industry. ESL, Faceit and DreamHack (an ESL property) have consistently hosted the world’s most prestigious esports tournaments and leagues, including majors for both Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2. 

Embracer Group

Investment: 8.1% stake
Cost: $1 billion

In June, Savvy Gaming Group invested $1 billion in the Swedish video game and media holding company Embracer Group, which has made a slew of acquisitions over the past several years. Embracer has acquired companies such as Gearbox Entertainment (Borderlands series), Coffee Stain (Valheim, Goat Simulator) and THQ Nordic, and it now owns over 100 gaming studios with more than 200 games in development. 

Nintendo

Investment: 5% stake
Cost: $1 billion

Nintendo is one of the most renowned hardware makers and video game publishers in the world, with a global presence, hit franchises like Mario, and a theme park partnership with Universal Studios. Savvy said it purchased the shares “for investment purposes.” 

Other notable investments:

Savvy Gaming group doesn’t hold all of the gaming and esports companies or stakes for the Public Investment Fund. The PIF has its own investments, such as the approximately 5% stakes it has in Capcom, developer of the game Street Fighter V, and Nexon, another video game publisher, each of which are reportedly worth just more than $1 billion.

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