Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, chairman of the Saudi Esports Federation and the Arab eSports Federation, recently detailed Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plans to transform its video game sector in an interview with AFP. The Kingdom aims to become a major global hub for video games and esports, leveraging substantial investments and strategic initiatives.


In 2022, Saudi Arabia unveiled a comprehensive $38 billion investment strategy dedicated to the gaming and esports sector. This ambitious plan is designed to create 39,000 job opportunities, with the ultimate goal of these sectors contributing 1% of the total GDP by 2030. This strategic investment underscores the Kingdom’s commitment to diversifying its economy and fostering new industries.

Hosting the Esports World Cup

Riyadh is set to host the Esports World Cup this summer, with over $60 million in prizes, aiming to attract millions of viewers globally. This event not only highlights Saudi Arabia’s growing influence in the esports industry but also serves as a platform to showcase its capabilities and ambitions on the world stage.

Joining the Success of Japan and South Korea

Prince Faisal highlighted the Kingdom’s desire to join the ranks of countries like Japan and South Korea, which are renowned for their dominance in the video game and esports sectors. He envisions esports as a “gateway” to larger ambitions, including building a comprehensive and thriving industry for video games in Saudi Arabia.

Strategic Acquisitions and Partnerships by Prince Faisal

To realize these ambitions, Saudi Arabia has made significant acquisitions in the gaming industry. Last year, the Kingdom acquired the California-based “Scopely” studio for $4.9 billion. Scopely specializes in mobile games, and its game “Monopoly Go” generated $2 billion in revenue within just ten months of its launch. This acquisition is a testament to Saudi Arabia’s commitment to securing a foothold in the competitive gaming market.

The Role of Savvy Games Group

Brian Ward, CEO of the Riyadh-based Savvy Games Group, has been instrumental in the Kingdom’s national strategy for video games. Ward, a former executive at Activision Blizzard, emphasized the group’s relentless pursuit of excellence and growth. “We don’t pause. We don’t do neutral,” he asserted, highlighting the aggressive and proactive approach the group is taking in the gaming industry.

Ward also mentioned the group’s interest in identifying and collaborating with talented teams and studios. He expressed hopes that Savvy Games would benefit from investments in major international studios and companies such as Activision Blizzard, Nintendo, and Capcom. The goal is to establish more meaningful partnerships that go beyond financial returns and support these entities in expanding their presence in the Middle East.

Building a Regional and Global Impact

Prince Faisal articulated a vision that extends beyond making Saudi Arabia a global hub for gaming. He aims for the Kingdom to become a regional center that stimulates growth throughout the Middle East. This regional leadership is expected to have a ripple effect, fostering development and innovation in neighboring countries.

Future Ambitions: High-Budget Console Games

Looking ahead, Saudi Arabia also has ambitions to expand its gaming portfolio. By 2030, the Kingdom aims to produce a high-budget console game, showcasing its ability to compete at the highest levels of the gaming industry. This initiative is part of a broader strategy to diversify the types of games produced and attract a wider audience.


Saudi Arabia’s concerted efforts to become a global esports and gaming hub are characterized by substantial investments, strategic acquisitions, and an unwavering commitment to growth. Under the leadership of Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan and key figures like Brian Ward, the Kingdom is poised to make significant strides in the gaming industry. By hosting major events, fostering partnerships, and nurturing local talent, Saudi Arabia is well on its way to achieving its ambitious goals and transforming the global gaming landscape.

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