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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund launched Savvy Gaming Group that will be chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The group seeks to be a leading developer of games at home and internationally, according to a statement from the Fund, known as PIF.

The Saudi-owned Savvy will acquire ESL and FACEIT platform and merge them into one entity to be the cornerstone of reaching the group goals, the statement added.

Savvy has acquired ESL Gaming Co. for $1.08 billion.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022, Handelblatt reported, citing an announcement from ESL FACEIT Group.

The group, backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, acquired the esports platform FACEIT in an earlier $500 million deal.

“Our merger with FACEIT, along with the backing of SGG, will give us more know-how, capabilities, and resources than ever before to deliver on this vision,” CEO of ESL, Craig Levine, said.

“Whether you are competing or watching, doing so socially or at a professional level, every stage of the pathway will be improved through this merger,” he added. 

Electronic gaming, or egaming, is an increasingly popular activity, with a recent study suggesting that 50 percent of the Saudi population consider themselves regular gamers.

Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, president of the Saudi Esports Federation told Arab News in October that the sector will contribute about 1 percent of Saudi GDP by 2030, which might seem a small proportion but the amount of money potentially involved is significant.