Saudi Arabia has just invested billions of dollars into gaming. In particular, the middle-eastern country has purchased millions of shares in Activision-Blizzard, EA, and Take-Two.
Because of this, gamers the world over are wondering to what end the country is investing in American game companies, with emphasis on those having published big-budget titles played by many gamers the world over.
If one wanted to be suspicious, they might suspect that it was a cultural power-play. Game companies tend to try to avoid upsetting investors, especially those with large stakes in the company. To this end, the game companies may feel a stronger inclination to avoid publishing content that would be insensitive to their investors. That connotation of self-censorship would likely impact any creative works the companies might produce, and there may even be added pressure to present Saudi Arabia in a more positive light.
What may also be relevant is that Saudi Arabia has a rocky relationship with Iran, to put it lightly. Considering this, it’s possible that game companies may feel an inclination to publish content portraying the Iranian regime negatively.
Of course, it’s also possible that Saudi Arabia is merely interested in increasing its wealth through investments, and has observed the gaming industry as it has been growing. Saudi Arabia is an oil-rich country, and this commodity has long been a source of its wealth. However, western countries are more aggressively pursuing renewable energy sources, and seeking to decrease dependence on fossil fuels. In light of this, investments may be a practical choice for Saudi Arabia to maintain its wealth.
It might just be another case of people who are already hugely-rich finding ways to make piles more money, without having to work.
If the games offered by the publishers that Saudi Arabia invested in (Activision-Blizzard, EA, and Take-Two) don’t interest you, this news might not be terribly relevant to you. This holds especially true if your primary source of games is from Japanese companies like Nintendo and SquareEnix.
It doesn’t seem likely that the women of Final Fantasy would be redone by SquareEnix to depict them in burkas. If that’s your concern, you can rest easy.