A few years ago, the Electronic Gaming Development Company, itself a subsidiary of the Mohammed bin Salman Foundation, purchased a 36% stake in Japanese game publisher SNK. That stake quickly became a controlling interest of 51%, effectively providing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with executive control over his first video game company.
Less than two years later, Mohammed bin Salman now owns almost all of SNK. A financial deal reported by VGC confirms the Electronic Gaming Development Company now owns 96% of SNK, which means bin Salman now effectively owns the King of Fighters, Metal Slug, and Samurai Shodown game developer.
“The Mohammed bin Salman Foundation’s (MiSK Foundation) investment in the Japanese company SNK reinforces its continuous commitment to its goals of empowering Saudi men and women through building economic partnerships, within the Foundation’s updated strategy to maximize the positive impact on youth empowerment,” reads a press release from last year when the investment was proposed.
As VGC notes, the final transaction was actually completed last February, but the news is only breaking two months later. This perhaps suggests SNK didn't want news of its takeover to be publicized.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman is no stranger to the business of video games. After taking control of SNK in 2020, the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which is controlled by bin Salman, made billion-dollar investments in Capcom and Nexon and later EA, Activision, and Take-Two Interactive. Most recently, the Public Investment Fund-backed company Savvy Gaming purchased European pro gaming leagues ESL And FACEIT, with plans to combine the two into a single entity.
The Public Investment Fund is a Saudi wealth fund dedicated to diversifying Saudi Arabia’s economy beyond oil – a wise idea, given the world’s general movement away from fossil fuels due to climate change. Prince Mohammed bin Salman in particular has championed gaming as a means of moving beyond oil, although the prince himself remains a controversial figure for his alleged involvement in the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
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