Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Public Investment Fund (PIF) has once again increased its stake in Nintendo, Saudi Arabia-based Twitter account BRHM announced today. This brings the Middle Eastern country’s stake in the company to 7.08%.
This investment falls in line with Saudi Arabia’s long-term games strategy. The country is aiming to become the global hub of the games industry, and as part of this strategy has set aside $13 billion to acquire a leading games publisher, alongside other investments made through the PIF’s subsidiary Savvy Games Group.
Nintendo occupies a unique position in the games industry. The company is responsible for some of the world’s biggest game franchises, including Pokemon, The Legend of Zelda, and Mario. This has made the company one of the most esteemed and instantly-recognisable names in gaming, and a prime investment target for Saudi Arabia.
A controversial investment
These investments into Nintendo have proven controversial due to well-documented human rights abuses. Last month’s boost in investment was seemingly met with displeasure by Nintendo stockholders, with stock prices falling 1.8% shortly after the announcement. Thus far, this increase in funds hasn’t had a similar effect on Nintendo's stock.
The possibility remains that Saudi Arabia’s increased stake in the company could lead to censorship in the future, with the country voicing its opinion in official proceedings seeking to ensure that future content is in line with its own morals and views. While games have become increasingly diverse, for example, the PIF could request that content it objects to is removed from upcoming games, and these requests could become more meaningful should the fund increase its share of the company.
Earlier this month, Niko Partners analysed the performance and growth potential of the MENA-3 region, with Saudi Arabia highlighted as the largest market by games revenue.