CEO of Savvy Games Group: Saudi Arabia to Become Global Hub for Electronic Games Industry

Participants are seen at an e-sports event that was recently held in Saudi Arabia. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Participants are seen at an e-sports event that was recently held in Saudi Arabia. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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CEO of Savvy Games Group: Saudi Arabia to Become Global Hub for Electronic Games Industry

Participants are seen at an e-sports event that was recently held in Saudi Arabia. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Participants are seen at an e-sports event that was recently held in Saudi Arabia. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Saudi Arabia is moving forward in the electronic games industry as part of its efforts to be a global hub in the sector and to attract foreign investments.

The Savvy Games Group, which is wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), seeks to develop this promising industry, stated its CEO, Brian Ward.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Ward said Savvy aims to become the leading international gaming company in the world and the first investor in the games and e-sports sector at the global level.

The company’s goals also include transforming the Kingdom into the next global hub for games, he underlined, noting that there were currently 16 centers around the world and Riyadh aims to become be the 17th and one of the largest hubs.

Ward revealed that Savvy’s strategy consisted of three pillars. They are: investing in game development and distribution, working with other concerned parties in Saudi Arabia, including government entities, giant projects, or commercial bodies, in order to transform the Kingdom into a major global hub for gaming, and finally, developing e-sports.

He stressed that with regard to e-sports, Savvy has acquired two companies, ESL and FACEIT, and merged them into one entity, and then added a third company called Vindex, which all have been integrated into the ESL FACEIT Group.

“We then invested 30 percent in an e-sports company based in China called (VSPO),” Ward added, explaining that Savvy currently owns 40 percent of the market share in e-sports around the world.

He explained that e-sports is primarily concerned with live events and tournaments, broadcasting live, and playing virtual sports games over the Internet.

He stressed that there is a great number of young Saudis who are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about games, but the majority of them do not have experience in working in the field, pointing to the need for programs that build the appropriate skills to fill the jobs generated by foreign investments.

Ward highlighted Savvy’s endeavors in developing games, saying that the company has acquired Scopely, a large gaming company based in California and ranked fourth among the largest mobile gaming companies in the world.

Asked about the success factors that help the company achieve its goals, he talked about the support provided by the Saudi Public Investment Fund and the company’s Board of Directors, which have allocated $38 billion to the Savvy Games Group over a long period of time.

According to Ward, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that has adopted a national strategy for gaming and e-sports, which he said is expected to provide 39,000 jobs and establish 250 gaming companies.

To achieve this goal by 2030, very close coordination will take place between all the industry players and the different ministries, he underlined.

Touching on the main challenges that have faced the global gaming sector over the past two years, Ward said the macroeconomic climate has become a little more complex, meaning alternative sources of financing for some companies have been difficult, as venture capital, private equity, and public companies have generally been shrinking, not expanding.

He emphasized that the Savvy Games Group has long-term patient capital, thanks to the PIF, which enables it to be an alternative long-term strategic capital partner in an environment that has been more capital constrained.

Asked about the partnership between Savvy and Al Hilal Club, Ward said that the company was pleased to partner with the football club and congratulated it on winning the Saudi Super Cup final in the UAE.



Saudi Arabia Unveils Extensive Mineralized Belts for Exploration Firms

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources is inviting local and international companies to participate in the Exploration Licensing for launched mineralized belts (Reuters)
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources is inviting local and international companies to participate in the Exploration Licensing for launched mineralized belts (Reuters)
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Saudi Arabia Unveils Extensive Mineralized Belts for Exploration Firms

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources is inviting local and international companies to participate in the Exploration Licensing for launched mineralized belts (Reuters)
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources is inviting local and international companies to participate in the Exploration Licensing for launched mineralized belts (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources has unveiled its largest mineralized belts to date, spanning 4.7 thousand square kilometers and including five new exploration licenses.
The Ministry is inviting major mining and exploration companies to participate in the current Exploration Licensing Rounds, aiming to unlock the extensive mineral wealth of these belts.
The Ministry’s spokesperson, Jarrah Al-Jarrah, emphasized that this initiative underscores Saudi Arabia’s commitment to strengthening its mining and minerals sector and creating investment opportunities.

The five available exploration licenses are part of the Ministry’s strategy to boost exploration investment and support Vision 2030 objectives, which aim to position mining as a key industry in the Kingdom.
These licenses cover significantly larger areas than previous rounds and are targeted at high-net-worth companies with developed base and precious metal mines.
Saudi Arabia is seeking investors capable of exploring and discovering large, tier-1 deposits within approximately 1,000 square kilometers of exploration licenses. The Kingdom’s infrastructure and competitive financing options make it well-positioned to develop new tier-1 sites.
The Ministry is inviting local and international companies to participate in the Exploration Licensing for the following mineralized belts:
- Jabal Sayid: Three exploration licenses covering 2,892 square kilometers. The belt contains copper, zinc, lead, gold, and silver.
- Al-Hajjar: Two exploration licenses at the Wadi Shwas VMS Belt, covering 1,896 square kilometers. This site holds deposits of gold, silver, copper, and zinc.
Al-Jarrah highlighted that Jabal Sayid and Al-Hajjar are the largest mineralized belt sites ever launched by the Kingdom.
The bidding process for the exploration licenses will be transparent and conducted in stages, beginning with pre-qualification from July to October 2024.
Qualified bidders will then submit technical proposals and social and environmental impact management plans by December 2024, with the winners announced and licenses granted in January 2025.