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Rolling Stone launches game vertical with help from Saudi wealth fund

RS Gaming has been launched in partnership with ESL FACEIT Group, which is owned by Saudi state-backed investment fund PIF.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

May 22, 2024

2 Min Read
The Rolling Stone Gaming logo on a red background
Image via Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone is expanding its coverage of the video game industry with the launch of a dedicated gaming vertical.

The new section has been launched in partnership with ESL FACEIT Group and will be helmed by senior gaming editor Christopher Cruz. The media company said it will report on the world of video games with a "hyperfocus on art, technology, and cultural impact."

"Gaming isn't informed by pop culture; it is pop culture," said Cruz in a press release. "As video games have evolved to meet movies, television, and literature on their own ground, it's important for us to explore how everyone is experiencing gaming culture."

Rolling Stone CEO Gus Wenner added that "expanding into gaming is a thrill that allows us to embrace a vibrant cultural frontier, reflecting our desire to celebrate diverse forms of entertainment and passionate communities."

The nature of the partnership between Rolling Stone and ESL FACEIT Group is unclear. The esports and entertainment company said it's looking forward to establishing a "unique platform to celebrate the esports stars, talent, creators, brands, and global competitions that next-generation audiences care about most."

ESL FACEIT Group is owned by Saudi-based investor Savvy Games Group, itself a subsidiary of Public Investment Fund (PIF)–a sovereign wealth fund backed by the Saudi state. PIF is chaired by Saudi crown prince and prime minister Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, who has been accused of human rights abuses and linked with the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

PIF has previously invested in major gaming companies including EA, Nintendo, Capcom, Nexon, Embracer Group, and Take-Two Interactive. It also purchased free-to-play publisher Scopely through Savvy Games Group and has expressed a desire to turn Saudi Arabia into a global hub for game development.

Game Developer has reached out to Rolling Stone for more details on the partnership with ESL FACEIT Group.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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