Last December we reported on the news of Gearbox Entertainment subsidiary Embracer Group buying up PWE and Cryptic to the tune of $125M in cash and shares. We now follow up with word that Saudi Arabia’s Savvy Gaming Group, a subsidiary that is fully owned and operated by a public investment fund led by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, has itself purchased a $1B piece of Embracer Group, ultimately resulting in an 8.1% stake in the company.
Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors calls the shares buy an avenue for Embracer to “set up a regional hub in Saudi Arabia, from which [the company] will be able to make investments across the MENA region, either organically, via partnerships, joint ventures, or via acquisitions of companies led by strong entrepreneurs.” This presumably means that players in the MENA region could soon be enjoying some of PWE and Cryptic’s host of MMOs like Neverwinter and Star Trek Online.
The kingdom’s interest in gaming isn’t brand-new, as the public investment fund has additionally bought up percentage shares in Nintendo, Capcom, Nexon, and SNK. Pushback from the west against Saudi Arabia’s gaming acquisition is also not new, as Riot games canned an esports partnership with the country after facing backlash related to the Saudi government’s human rights violation history and anti-LGBTQ stance.