Saudi Arabia's $1 billion investment, according to the owner of a board game shambles, is not concerned about Saudi Arabia's $1 billion investment

Saudi Arabia's $1 billion investment, according to the owner of a board game shambles, is not concer

Saudi Arabia invested $1 billion on Asmodees'' parent company, the Embracer Group, a Swedish company. The kingdoms Public Investment Fund used one of its subsidiary''s Savvy Gaming Group, to purchase enough of the company, making it its second largest owner.

Last year, Embracer Group acquired the tabletop game publishing giant responsible for some of the most popular non-Monopoly board games - Catan, Pandemic, and Ticket to Ride. It has spent the last five years on a real buying spree, with numerous mostly-digital gaming organizations, such as Borderlands maker Gearbox Studios and Tomb Raiders Crystal Dynamics, but also expanding into other forms of popular media - the recently acquired comics maker Dark Horse Media.

The PIFs move is part of a larger effort to diversify a Saudi Arabian economy that is still dependent on fossil fuels. The kingdom bought 5.01% of Japanese video game publisher Nintendo last month and has been considering several other elements of the growing Pop Culture media landscape, including Disney. Given that, a significant but non-controlling stake in the constantly expanding Embracer umbrella makes sense from a business perspective.

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Many tables and studios owned by Asmodee will likely find the connection to Saudi Arabia very problematic and uninteresting. The country has a long and well-documented history of human rights violations that remain. During the Yemeni Civil War, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was reportedly personally apprehended. In 2018, a US CIA report rated the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

According to Yahoo! Finance, Embracer Groups CEO Lars Wingefors responded to very few of these concerns in a letter made on PIF investment in his company. Instead, Wingefors provided assurance to investors and shareholders that Savvy Gaming Group would not control the company, although the possibility of a board seat for SGG CEO remains a closed door.

Embracer is built on the principles of freedom, inclusion, humanity, and openness. In a letter, Wingefors stated that the transaction with SGG will not change this in any way. Embracer is still controlled by the people who work in our Group.

Any company member who would question Embracers'' economic links to a non-democratic country should look ourselves in the mirror and consider the other MENA countries and individuals with whom they already do business. Wingefors also points out that the increased popularity of games in MENA countries, including Saudi Arabia, is a potential move.

I believe in inclusion and the transition that might be able to affect our content to new markets, according to him. By bringing more of our products to the MENA region, we have the potential to build local connections, support entrepreneurs, employ a diverse group of people (sic) in our entire ecosystem, strengthen growth, and connect the world better through gaming.

Asmodee has been on its own buying spree in the past few years, with plans B Games and Board Game Arena in 2021. Like the publisher, it made a strategic investment in Exploding Kittens in the same year, while expanding its approach to traditional party games, although it came at the cost of wonderfully fish-shaped bags.

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