Saudi Arabia, not content with buying a 1/3rd stake in SNK for future King of Fighters games, has utilized its Public Investment Fund to invest over US$3.3 billion in the world’s biggest video game companies.
They are Electronic Arts (EA), Take-Two Interactive, and Activision Blizzard. This move was orchestrated by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (or MBS), and equates to millions of shares in each company, but a small fraction of ownership for each of the game makers. This is not explicitly part of MBS’ overall Saudi Vision 2030 plan, but it does follow the same pattern of investments the regime has made in sports, esports, and professional wrestling.
This move might rub people the wrong way. While MBS has made some changes and reforms in Saudi Arabia, he is alleged to have given the order to assassinate journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 and the continued genocide of the Yemeni people, with assists from the USA and the United Arab Emirates for the latter.
In related news, I just finished watching the documentary The Dissident, so I’m having very, VERY mixed feelings about these recent developments. When you think about it, isn’t the Saudi Arabia Vision 2030 plan basically a money-laden propaganda campaign to portray the country as a progressive nation? In any case, Blizzcon 2021 might turn out very, VERY interesting with these recent turn of events.