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SNK Playmore to renew focus on console and mobile game development

SNK Playmore announced (via Dream Cancel) that it will shift its development focus to the console and mobile gaming sectors, following a series of sweeping changes to its pachislot business in Japan.

The company is currently winding down its production of pachislot machines in Japan in response to an industry decline and new regulatory laws that could cause instability in the marketplace. Development of a pachislot machine based on SNK’s Beast Busters arcade game has halted, and the company revealed that it will exit the pachislot business entirely once existing repair and service orders have been processed.

Related: New Castlevania, Silent Hill games head to pachinko parlors instead of consoles

As a result of this shift in focus, SNK Playmore will reassign its pachislot staff to its console and mobile gaming divisions as it attempts to rebuild its presence in both sectors. The company notes that the success of its iOS and Android app Metal Slug Defense was a significant factor in the decision, as the game recently surpassed 26 million downloads worldwide.

SNK Playmore’s first major step in reestablishing itself as a major industry player lies in the upcoming release of The King of Fighters XIV. Announced in September, The King of Fighters XIV is a 3D, PlayStation 4-exclusive adaptation of SNK Playmore’s long-running, team-based fighting game series.

The company will also expand its mobile presence through its partnership with Chinese company Ledo. Mobile entries in its The King of Fighters series proved especially popular in China, and SNK Playmore notes that multiple licensed mobile games of the same scale are currently in development.

Previously a developer of arcade games in the 1980s, SNK saw worldwide success with its Neo Geo arcade hardware and home console throughout the 1990s. The Neo Geo hosted many standout fighting games developed by SNK and its subsidiaries, and multiplatform ports proved lucrative.

SNK’s popularity waned by the turn of the century, however, and the company’s Neo Geo Pocket Color handheld failed to make an impact. The company was subsequently acquired by pachinko company Aruze, and SNK’s licensed properties were used in a series of Japan-exclusive gambling games released in the years afterward. SNK founder Eikichi Kawasaki afterward re-purchased the company’s intellectual property rights, relaunching the brand as SNK Playmore.