One of the biggest sovereign wealth funds worldwide, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, has invested $265 million in VSPO, a top esports tournament organizer supported by Tencent Holdings, marking its first significant gaming investment in China.
The transaction, which was announced on Thursday, gives Savvy Gaming Group, a PIF division, a majority interest in VSPO, which manages competitive gaming competitions for well-known games like League of Legends and PUBG. Savvy Games Group is also creating its game studio and publishing division to provide unique content for audiences worldwide.
The action is being taken as Saudi Arabia’s PIF works to diversify its holdings and assist the nation’s gaming and esports industry as part of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s aim to make Saudi Arabia a major hub for the sector by 2030. The fund has a $38 billion budget to invest in various industries, including tourism, technology, and entertainment.
Brian Ward, a former global studios head at Activision Blizzard Inc., one of the biggest game publishers in the world, is the founder and CEO of Savvy Games Group. Ward is in charge of all business unit operations and strategy for Savvy. The company that develops games for Savvy is run by Yannick Theler, a longtime veteran of Ubisoft Entertainment SA who has worked on franchises like Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege and Assassin’s Creed.
Savvy Games Group and VSPO’s partnership is anticipated to improve both businesses’ growth prospects and broaden their presence in the rapidly expanding gaming industry. The financial and resource advantages of Savvy Gaming Group and its connections to other gaming behemoths like Activision Blizzard Inc. and Nintendo Co., in which PIF has investments, may prove advantageous to VSPO. Also, the money from PIF might assist VSPO in reviving professional gaming in China, which had fallen out of favor for two years due to economic restrictions and Beijing’s crackdown on the internet industry.
Major video game publishers like Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, and Take-Two Interactive were among the stocks that the PIF acquired in December 2020 for approximately $3 billion. The Japanese producer SNK, which has the rights to well-known brands including Fatal Fury, Metal Slug, and King of Fighters, was acquired by the prince through his Electronic Gaming Development Corporation last year for 96% of its share capital.
Also, the PIF has made over $1 billion in investments comprising more than 5% holdings in Capcom and the South Korean online game developer Nexon. The prince stated that the PIF would introduce a new Savvy Gaming Group plan in September 2022 and put aside 50 billion riyals ($13.3 billion) to buy “a prominent game publisher to become a strategic growth partner.”
To broaden its influence in the gaming sector, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has announced a significant investment of $265 million in VSPO, a significant player in the Chinese esports market. By investing in VSPO, the PIF is taking a big step towards realizing its ambitious aim of making Saudi Arabia a centre for the gaming sector by the year 2030.
Long-term growth potential in the rapidly expanding gaming business is anticipated to be generated by the relationship between Savvy Gaming Group, a PIF unit, and VSPO. Savvy Gaming Group might boost the global gaming market by reviving professional gaming in China and by utilizing its access to finance and resources.
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