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How Saudi Arabia Is Investing Billions in Future Technologies & Gaming

In its bid to diversify its economy, Saudi Arabia has been investing in future technologies, which covers innovative tech, software, cybersecurity, and infrastructure. The Kingdom has also set its eyes on its growing domestic gaming market, which includes both gaming purchases and eSports.

As part of its Vision 2030 goals, Saudi Arabia is aiming to be a regional destination for all things tech. Earlier in February, the Kingdom held the inauguration event by LEAP, a future tech event bringing together key speakers and exhibitors from global tech industries. At the event, the Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Eng. Abdullah Al-Swaha, stated that the Kingdom will be investing $6.4 billion in future technologies.

The funds will be distributed as follows: Saudi Aramco will invest $1 billion on start-ups through Prosperity7 Ventures; NEOM Tech & Digital Holding Company will invest $1 billion in future tech and the launch of M3LD and XVRS product; Ignite will invest $1 billion on digital contents; STC will invest $1 billion on the Kingdom's digital infrastructure; and J&T Express, and eWTP Arabia Capital will invest $2 billion on the Kingdom's smart logistics sector. The remaining funds will be implemented as venture capital and in supporting digital entrepreneurship.

In addition, the Kingdom is looking to develop its tourism sector with the Tourism Digital Strategy, which is aimed at fulfilling the goals set by Vision 2030. This was announced by the Saudi Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Bin Aqeel Al-Khateeb, at LEAP. The Tourism Digital Strategy will consist of nine programs in total, and is said to finish by 2025. Currently, it has the backing of the World Tourism Organization, the World Bank, and tech companies such as Cisco and Microsoft.

As for gaming, Saudi Arabia's domestic gaming market is said to be worth around $1 billion, with plans to reach $2.5 billion value by 2030. Indeed, gaming has grown to become a profitable form of entertainment amongst Saudi youths with live-service games, and mass multiplayer role-playing games (MMORPG) said to be among the most popular genres. According to a recent report by Boston Consulting Group, gaming consumption is expected to reach $6.8 billion by 2030.

In addition, eSports and streaming have been gaining traction across the Kingdom, with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) entering the market with the launch of Savvy Gaming Group (SGG). This includes the recent $1.05 billion acquisition of ESL, and FACEIT to form the ESL FACEIT Group, a strategy aimed at expanding SGG's eSports services domestically and internationally. 

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