Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Chairman of Savvy Gaming Group, Mohammed bin Salman, announced today, Sept. 29, the group’s strategy.
“Savvy is one part of an ambitious strategy aiming to make Saudi Arabia the ultimate global hub for the games and esports sector by 2030,” Salman said, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
“We are harnessing the untapped potential across the esports and games sector to diversify our economy, drive innovation in the sector and further scale the entertainment and esports competition offerings across the Kingdom,” he added.
Fully owned by PIF, Savvy’s strategy is to drive growth by investing in the video games and esports industry, with a unique long-term investment horizon and long-dated capital. It is aimed at creating more opportunities for participation and strengthening partnerships in the gaming market, as well as improving the user experience.
The launch of Savvy’s strategy will enable and support the recently-announced national gaming and esports strategy, as the group will invest in several local and international programs and infrastructure in order to provide training, education and entrepreneurship opportunities.
This is besides attracting foreign companies to Saudi Arabia through investments and partnerships that will contribute to providing skills, knowledge transfer and building capabilities of the entire ecosystem. It will also establish 250 video game companies in the Kingdom, which will create 39,000 jobs and raise the sector’s GDP contribution to SAR 50 billion by 2030.
Savvy’s investments will be based around four key pillars: enhancing returns, making a local impact, leaving a global footprint and expanding. This will, accordingly, lead to international gaming investments, generating sustainable returns and enabling creators across the entire value chain. Savvy will accelerate talent in the Kingdom and catalyze Saudi Arabia’s unique geographical location to build the dominant global hub for video games and esports.
As a part of Savvy’s investment strategy, the group is set to invest SAR 142 billion across four programs each with specific objectives. SAR 50 billion has been earmarked for the acquisition and development of a leading game publisher to become a strategic development partner.
It will also invest SAR 70 billion in minority stakes in key companies that support Savvy’s game development agenda. Another SAR 2 billion will be injected in diversified investments in industry disruptors to bolster early-stage video games and esports companies. An additional SAR 20 billion will be directed to mature industry partners who add value and expertise to Savvy’s portfolio.
This strategy will be delivered by Savvy’s five independent subsidiaries that are specifically devoted to different sectors and this ecosystem development.
These five companies comprise Savvy’s esports arm, ESL FACEIT Group (EFG), which was created following Savvy’s earlier acquisition of ESL and FACEIT groups. EFG already comprises a significant part of the world’s competitive gaming ecosystems, combining ESL’s strength in building, broadcasting, and commercializing premium content with FACEIT’s capabilities as a best-in-class online platform.
This is in addition to Nine66, which is building an ecosystem for game developers and studios to thrive through providing suitable infrastructure, offering talent and participation opportunities as well as providing financing and consultancy support. The company is also offering publishing services in the Middle East, which allows international developers to enter regional markets.
VOV, which specializes in building gaming and competition venues, is also included. The company is aimed at developing skills and providing a healthy environment for players by building a series of quality venues that consider the health and safety of all players, in a step that is the first of its kind globally, by providing healthy food and a supportive social environment and motivation for players to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
VOV opened the first of its venues last May. This is one of three planned locations the company will open in the short term, as it seeks to expand regionally and globally. The company will also provide programs designed to provide training and guidance for young gamers aspiring to break into the competitive esports industry.
Savvy’s strategy will also be delivered through the first global game studio to be launched in Saudi Arabia, which in turn will offer a range of valuable games to global audiences. Specialized teams will be formed to focus on mid/core games, and will seek to take advantage of acquisition opportunities available in the Kingdom and international markets to attract games and studios under Savvy’s umbrella.
The strategy also includes establishing Savvy Games Fund, which will invest in leading publishers and developers, while facilitating their establishment of bases in the Kingdom.
Collectively, these companies will create synergies across the games and esports industry, which will help develop the sector through investments targeting developers and publishers. They also seek to invest in technology innovation, content creator funding, as well development of world-class event and venue concepts.
On Sept. 15, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the National Gaming and Esports Strategy, marking the beginning of a new era towards leading the gaming sector and making Saudi Arabia the global hub for this sector by 2030, Argaam earlier reported.