Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s obsession with electronic games has prompted him to invest more than six billion US dollars in this field, despite the fact that it has not achieved feasible returns for the Kingdom.
The personal whims and desires of Mohammed bin Salman govern Saudi investments in a rare precedent when the Kingdom is incurring comprehensive financial losses.
Observers unanimously agree that the teenage bin Salman wastes Saudi Arabia’s wealth on his whims and trivial hobbies, most notably the video games that have provoked his addiction since his childhood years.
In the latest development, the international Esports Insider website reported that “The Savvy Gaming Group of the Saudi Investment Fund, recently bought two of the world’s largest electronic games companies in ESL and FACEIT for a total of $1.5 billion.”
Sports Promedia explained that the Saudi Investment Fund bought the electronic games company ESL for $1.05 billion and the gaming platform Faceit for $500 million through Savvy Gaming, owned by the fund.
According to the site, “The deal will be Savvy Gaming’s largest acquisition since its inception in 2021, and the two companies will merge into a group under the name ESL FACEIT Group EFG.”
Meanwhile, the Saudi authorities launched a group to develop the gaming and esports sector, headed by Mohammed bin Salman.
Games and electronic sports are obsessed with Mohammed bin Salman. He promotes that this sector is prevalent in the Kingdom and wants to flood young people in it within the entertainment bodies he imposes.
The value of the market for these games in the Kingdom reached one billion dollars in 2021, the highest among the countries in the region, according to a report on the Middle East and North Africa market issued by “Nico Partners”, a company specialized in this sector, in January.
The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) stated that the Safi group, which is affiliated with the Public Investment Fund, aims “to be a pioneer in the development of the games and e-sports sector at the local and international levels, as it will work in harmony to support an integrated system for the sector.”
In furtherance of its plans, the Savi Group, upon its inception, signed an agreement to acquire ESL, which specializes in entertainment events and competitions in the field of esports, and Face It, the digital platform specialized in esports.
The establishment of the “Safi” group comes to contribute to “providing development opportunities and promoting diversification of the sources of income for the Saudi economy under the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” according to the agency.
The group is headed by Mohammed bin Salman, knowing that in 2016 he launched the Vision 2030 plan aimed at diversifying the oil-dependent economy by supporting the entertainment, sports, tourism and other sectors.
According to a report by Nico Partners, the number of players in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt – the three largest countries in this field – will reach 85.8 million in 2025, generating $ 3.1 billion, adding that the Middle East and North Africa “rapidly emerged as a major growth area for the industry.