The sovereign wealth fund is chaired by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has spoken publicly on several occasions about his passion for games—in particular, Activision’s Call of Duty series—and the positive impact they can have on players.
In December PIF purchased Activision shares worth almost $1.4 billion, EA shares worth about $1.1 billion, and Take-Two shares worth $826 million, Al Jazeera reports.
A subsidiary of the crown prince’s flagship charity Misk also acquired one-third of Japanese game firm SNK in November 2020, a stake which it plans to increase to 51%.
PIF is reportedly central to the crown prince’s goal of making the Saudi economy less reliant on proceeds from oil.
According to its website, PIF’s vision is to be “a global investment powerhouse and the world’s most impactful investor, enabling the creation of new sectors and opportunities that will shape the future global economy, while driving the economic transformation of Saudi Arabia”.
PIF’s investments in the companies behind the Call of Duty, FIFA and Grand Theft Auto franchises may raise concerns given Saudi Arabia’s longstanding history of human rights abuses and the fact that the crown prince has been accused of ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.