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Saudi Arabia will invest $37bn in E-sports

Saudi Arabia's Gaming Group will invest in the e-sports sector as it seeks to make the Kingdom a global gaming hub by 2030
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AP/CHRISTOPH SOEDER  -   E-sports

Under the directives of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the decision on such initiatives demonstrates why Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Arab world; a country that, in addition to expanding its industrial, mining and manufacturing sectors as part of the "Vision 2030" strategy, with which the Kingdom aims to reduce its dependence on oil and diversify its economy, also wants to invest in the gaming sector as, in the words of the Saudi crown prince and prime minister: "We are tapping into the untapped potential in the e-sports and gaming sector to diversify our economy, drive innovation in the sector and further scale competitive entertainment and e-sports offerings across the Kingdom." 

The launch of the Savvy Games Group strategy will enable and support the recently announced national eSports and gaming strategy as Savvy invests in a number of local and international programmes and infrastructure. One of the objectives is to create more than 250 companies that will generate around 39,000 jobs. As part of the group's investment strategy, it plans to invest 142 billion Saudi Rials in four programmes, each with specific objectives, the key points of which are: improving returns; local impact; leaving a global footprint and expansion, leading to international gaming investment; and; generating sustainable returns and empowering creators across the value chain.

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PHOTO/BILL STREICHER-USA TODAY SPORTS – E-sports

Its investments will create opportunities for participation and advancement in the sector, across gender, geography, media and capacity. Savvy's investments are intended to drive the growth of the sector globally, making it a more supportive, exciting and rewarding place for fans, gamers, developers and technology innovators. 

This strategy will be delivered by Savvy's five independent subsidiaries specifically dedicated to different sectors and ecosystem development. These five companies comprise Savvy's eSports arm. 

VOV, which specialises in building gaming and competition venues, aims to develop skills and provide a healthy environment for players by building a series of quality venues that consider the health and care of all players, in a move that is the first of its kind globally, providing healthy food, a supportive social environment and encouraging players to adopt a healthy lifestyle. VOV opened the first of its locations in May, one of three planned locations to open in the short term, as it looks to expand regionally and globally. 

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PHOTO/REUTERS – Vision 2030

The group will also establish the first global gaming studio to be launched in Saudi Arabia that will offer a range of games to global audiences. It will build specialised teams focused on mid-core games, which are more complex and require more time investment from the player, and will seek to take advantage of acquisition opportunities available in the Kingdom and international markets. 

With these investments, the Kingdom is demonstrating that it wants to open up more to the world in its aim to consolidate an economic system that is expected to be largely non-fuel and non-hydrocarbon based by 2030.