Are you one of many fans of 90s-era game developer SNK Playmore? You will want to read this news.
It has been confirmed that the developer has been picked up by Ledo Millenium, acquiring an 81.25 % stake in the company for $ 63.5 million. The company hopes to leverage their old IP, using them following the classic Marvel formula, encompassing games, comics, films, and television.
Current SNKPlaymore president Koichi Satoyama made this statement regarding the acquisition today:
On August 6, we made a capital alliance with Ledo Millenium, a subsidiary of Perfect World Corp based in China which operates and develops online games. The target is to strengthen our entertainment business including Pachislot and Games, and to further expand our IP-based license businesses in the Chinese market.
… The Pachislot market is currently suffering from a massive decline of users in their 20's, and it is important that we develop new machines targeted towards the younger range audience. We are a Pachislot maker as well as a Videogame maker. We will do our best to make Pachislot fans out of videogame fans.
This is the biggest change the company has gone through since the old SNK filed for bankruptcy in October 2001. In dramatic fashion, SNK founder Eikichi Kawasaki established a new company, Playmore. Playmore slowly bought back the company’s IP and rehired former SNK employees, before finally acquiring the right to use the name again.
For SNK’s fans, they will always be remembered most for their premier hybrid arcade and home console gaming machine, the powerful Neo Geo. SNK made their most famous games for this console, including King of Fighters, Metal Slug, Samurai Shodown, and Fatal Fury.
SNK Playmore has unfortunately struggled in recent years, with ligitation surrounding the failure of the Neo Geo X, and middling results for mobile games The Rhythm of Fighters and Metal Slug Defense.
For the moment, it appears that Ledo’s interest in SNK Playmore is only for licensed pachinko games, but older fans remember this is precisely what Playmore themselves did in the 2000s to raise funds to go back into making games. Hopefully, SNK’s 3rd lease of life will be more meaningful, since Ledo seems poised to make movies, shows, and more.
What do you hope SNK Playmore will do in the near future? My vote goes to The King of Fighters XIV. Share your thoughts in the comments below.