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Saudi Arabia’s PIF acquires stake in Nintendo to boost the gaming industry

The investment makes Saudi Arabia's PIF the fifth largest stakeholder in the Japanese gaming firm.

Saudi Arabia’s PIF acquires stake in Nintendo to boost the gaming industry
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Revenues for the gaming industry in the Middle East went up by a whopping 15% this year, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for the sector. In Egypt, UAE, and Saudi Arabia alone, the number of gamers will surpass 85 million by 2025. As of now, gaming enthusiasts constitute about 67% of Saudi Arabia’s population.

It explains why Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has bought a 5% stake in the iconic gaming firm Nintendo. The purchase revealed in a filing to Japan’s finance ministry makes PIF the fifth-largest stakeholder of Nintendo. The firm, which created gaming titles such as Super Mario and Donkey Kong, is currently struggling with a chip shortage for its handheld Switch console.

Before Nintendo, PIF has also picked up stakes in another Japanese game developer Capcom, which has created the iconic Streetfighter and Resident Evil. Apart from that, it has investments in an online gaming firm Nexon. The kingdom had previously acquired Japanese game developer SNK and investments in firms such as Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts.

Over the years, Saudi Arabia has hosted esports tournaments, including a PubG championship. The country has also announced that it’ll establish a gaming studio as part of its $500 billion project NEOM. Apart from the kingdom, the UAE is also developing the twofour54 hub, an ecosystem for game developers and esports firms.

With the largest number of gamers in the Middle East, the gaming industry in Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt combined are expected to be worth more than $3 billion by 2025.

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