Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (IFJ) is pumping more money into the gaming industry and has increased its stake in US gaming company Electronic Arts (EA) by 55%.
The PIF disclosed the investment in a presentation made Monday detailing its first calendar quarter (Q1) of 2023.
What happened: The January-March presentation of the PIF, published on Monday, showed that the fund bought more EA shares during the fourth quarter of 2022.
PIF held 16.1 million shares in game publisher FIFA and Madden NFL before the fourth quarter of 2022, but after the first quarter of 2023, it held 24.81 million shares, according to financial research publisher Seeking Alpha. This is a 55% increase.
EA currently has 276 million shares outstanding, which puts PIF’s stake at 8.99%.
Why it matters: EA is one of many American game publishers that Saudi Arabia’s PIF has invested in as part of the kingdom’s drive to become an industry leader by 2030.
Saudi Arabia already has investments in Activision Blizzard and Take-Two Interactive from the United States.
In February 2023, the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund became Nintendo’s largest outside investor, holding 8.26% of the famous Japanese game publisher’s shares. It also owns stakes in game publishers Capcom and Nexon.
Savvy Gaming Group, launched by PIF, bought leading esports events and competitions company ESL for $1.5 billion and FACE IT Company early last year. It also bought $1 billion worth of shares in Swedish video game and media holding company Embracer Group in 2022.
Electronic Gaming of Saudi Arabia (EGDC) also owns 96.18% of Japanese game developer SNK after a deal struck in February last year. EGDC is owned by the Mohammed bin Salman Foundation, known as the MiSK Foundation.
Heir Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced his country’s National E-Sports and Gaming Strategy in September last year, an arm of its Vision 2030 that in part plans to transform the country’s economy and reduce its reliance on traditional fossil fuels by developing other sectors in part .
Salman said his country’s gambling strategy will add $13 billion to gross domestic product and create 39,000 jobs by 2030.
Know more: After Saudi Arabia launched its National E-Sports and Gaming Strategy last year, members of the kingdom local gaming industry they say community players, developers, and startups are key to actualizing the plan’s ambitious goals.