One of the more interesting stories in gaming investment and business over the past couple years has been Saudi Arabia’s push to diversify from its reliance on oil by investing heavily into various gaming companies via its $500 billion Public Investment Fund. It already took major stakes in Capcom, Nexon, and SNK, and now it will be adding a major stake in Nintendo to that list. The Saudi Arabia PIF took a 5 percent stake in Big N and will soon be its fifth largest shareholder.
Word of the Saudi Arabia PIF investment in Nintendo came today, as originally reported by Bloomberg. According to a filing to Japan’s Finance Ministry, the purchase was made for investment purposes and will give Saudi Arabia a 5 percent stake in Nintendo once all is said and done. The investment will also make Saudi Arabia one of the largest shareholders in Nintendo, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The use of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund for this 5 percent Nintendo stake is the latest of many moves by the country to diversify its economic dependencies. Reportedly, the $500 billion PIF was set up to help the country break away from majority dependence on oil. Previously, we have already seen Saudi Arabia’s PIF used to gather major stakes in the likes of SNK, Capcom, Nexon, and Activision Blizzard. The country even invested in major esports organizations, having acquired both the ESL and FACEIT organizations through the Saudi PIF-backed Savvy Gaming Group.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman claims to have been one of the first in the Saudi royal family to have grown up playing video games and that has been part of the move to invest so deeply into various companies. With the Saudi PIF taking stakes in a growing list of major companies, it will be interesting to see if Saudi Arabia stops its marathon of game investments at Nintendo. Stay tuned as we continue to follow for further updates.