Saudi Arabia's controversial Public Investment Fund (PIF) now has stakes in both Capcom and Nexon, making these two companies the latest in a long line of video game investments from the initiative chaired by Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The PIF purchased stakes of more than five percent in both Capcom and Nexon. This equates to a holding of more than $1bn across the two companies (via Bloomberg (paywall)). According to PIF, this move is based purely on an investment opportunity.
Capcom, most famous for its Monster Hunter and Resident Evil franchises, recently celebrated a bumper year. Both Resident Evil Village and Monster Hunter Rise saw sales that easily surpassed 1m. Meanwhile, Nexon is known for its online RPG MapleStory.
Capcom and Nexon now join the likes of EA, Take Two Interactive and Activision Blizzard, which the PIF also has stakes in.
The hugely-controversial Prince Mohammed bin Salman is often cited as being a fan of video games, with his preferred franchise being Call of Duty. This likely had an influence on PIF's choice to invest in Activision Blizzard.
He has also been blamed by the CIA for the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, while his rule of Saudi Arabia has kept up the country's notoriously poor human rights record, with homosexuality still criminalised with punishments ranging from floggings to the death penalty.
However, PIF had been losing money on this investment until recently, with ABK's recent acquisition by Microsoft seen as a saving grace.
These trends in Saudi's investment portfolio show that the country is leaning further from away from its reliance on oil, as the world as a whole seeks more sustainable energy. Along with its video game investments, the PIF also has stakes in Uber, live events conglomerate Live Nation Entertainment and additionally owns 80 percent of Newcastle United.
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