RIYADH — Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Chairman of the Board of Savvy Games Group, unveiled on Thursday the group’s strategy.
The Crown Prince said: “Savvy Games Group is one part of our ambitious strategy aiming to make Saudi Arabia the ultimate global hub for the games and esports sector by 2030.
“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”.
Fully owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Savvy’s strategy is to drive growth by investing in the electronic games industry and esports with a unique long-term investment horizon and long dated capital, creating more opportunities for participation and strengthening partnerships in the games industry, as well as improving the user experience.
The launch of the Savvy Games Group’s strategy will enable and support the recently announced national gaming and esports strategy, as Savvy will invest in several local and international programs and infrastructure in order to provide training, education and entrepreneurship opportunities, as well as attract international companies to Saudi Arabia through investments and partnerships that will contribute to providing skills, knowledge transfer and building capabilities in the whole ecosystem. It will also establish 250 games companies in the Kingdom, which will create 39,000 jobs, and raise the sector’s GDP contribution to SR50 billion by 2030.
Savvy’s investments will be based around four key pillars: enhancing returns, local impact, leaving a global footprint and expanding, leading to international games investing, 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 games and esports.
As a part of Savvy’s investment strategy, the group is set to invest SR142 billion across four programs each with specific objectives: SR50 billion has been earmarked for the acquisition and development of a leading game publisher to become a strategic development partner; SR70 billion will see Savvy make a series of minority stake investments in key companies that support Savvy’s game development agenda; SR2 billion in diversified investments in industry disruptors to grow early-stage games and esports companies, and SR20 billion will be invested into mature industry partners who add value and expertise to Savvy’s portfolio.
This strategy will be delivered by Savvy’s five independent subsidiaries specifically devoted to different sectors and this ecosystem development.
These five companies comprise Savvy’s esports arm, EFG, which was created following Savvy’s earlier acquisition of ESL and FACEIT groups. Together EFG already comprises a significant part of the world’s competitive gaming ecosystem. EFG combines ESL’s strength in building, broadcasting, and commercializing premium content with FACEIT’s capabilities as a best-in-class online platform.
Nine66 is building an ecosystem for game developers and studios to thrive through providing a suitable infrastructure, offering talent and participation opportunities, and providing financing and consultancy support. The company is also offering publishing services in the Middle East markets, which allows international developers to enter regional markets.
VOV company, specialized in building gaming and competition venues, aims at developing skills and providing a healthy environment for players by building a series of quality venues that consider the health and care for 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.
Since May, VOV has opened the first of its venues, one of three planned for opening 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 who aspire to break into the competitive esports industry.
The Group also includes 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 focusing 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 Group’s umbrella.
The strategy also includes establishing Savvy Games Fund, investing in leading publishers and developers and facilitating their establishment of bases in the Kingdom.
Collectively these companies will create synergies across every part of the games and esports industry, growing the sector through targeted investments in developers and publishers, investing in technology innovation, content creator funding, as well developing world-class event and venue concepts.
About Savvy Games Group
Savvy Games Group (“Savvy”) is a games and esports company founded to drive the long-term growth and development of esports and the wider games industry worldwide. Savvy was set up and is 100% owned by PIF. As a global champion of this buoyant sector, Savvy aims to become a global leader in games and esports by deploying significant capital over long-term horizons.
Its investments will create opportunities for participation and progression in the sector, across gender, geography, means and ability. Savvy’s investments are intended to drive growth of the sector globally, making it a more supportive, exciting, and rewarding place for fans, players, developers, and technology innovators, and facilitating broader, more equitable access to this fast-growing, dynamic sector. Savvy’s CEO is Brian Ward, former head of worldwide studios at Activision Blizzard. — SG