amounting to more than a billion dollars.
Saudi Arabia’s controversial public investment fund (PIF) now owns stakes in Capcom and Nexon, making the two companies the latest in a long string of video game investments from the initiative chaired by the prince. Mohammad bin Salman.
The PIF bought stakes of more than five percent in Capcom and Nexon. This equates to a stake of more than $1 billion between the two companies (via Bloomberg (paywall)). According to PIF, this decision is based solely on an investment opportunity.
Capcom, most famous for its Monster Hunter and Resident Evil franchises, recently celebrated a banner year. Both Resident Evil Village and Monster Hunter Rise had sales that easily topped 1 million. Meanwhile, Nexon is known for its online RPG MapleStory.
Capcom and Nexon now join EA, Take Two Interactive and Activision Blizzard, in which the PIF also has stakes.
The controversial Prince Mohammed bin Salman is often cited as being a fan of video games, his favorite franchise being Call of Duty. This probably had an influence on PIF’s choice to invest in Activision Blizzard.
He was also blamed by the CIA for the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, while his rule over Saudi Arabia maintained the country’s notoriously poor human rights record, with homosexuality being still criminalized with penalties ranging from flogging to the death penalty.
However, PIF had been losing money on this investment until recently, with Microsoft’s recent acquisition of ABK seen as a saving grace.
These trends in the Saudi investment portfolio show that the country is increasingly moving away from its dependence on oil, as the world as a whole seeks more sustainable energy. Alongside its investments in video games, PIF also owns stakes in Uber, live events conglomerate Live Nation Entertainment and additionally owns 80% of Newcastle United.