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King of Fighters XIV is the beginning: SNK Playmore to focus on video games again

The company had veered toward using its IP for pachinko and other gambling products, but plans to change its focus back to video games.

SNK Playmore, creators of the King of Fighters franchise and inheritor of the 1990s-era arcade legacy of the Neo-Geo plans to focus more on video games in the future.

This news comes courtesy of a summary translation of a new Famitsu interview with Yutaka Noguchi, general manager of the company's video game division.

The company had veered toward the (then) profitable pachinko business. But new regulations have made it more challenging in recent times, Noguchi said; meanwhile, the company's roots lie in video games -- the industry where it is most recognizable.

Its latest fighting game, the upcoming King of Fighters XIV, made a splash as part of Sony's PlayStation Experience keynote in San Francisco earlier this month. It was announced at Sony's Tokyo Game Show press conference. A PlayStation 4 port of its 1998 fighting game The Last Blade 2 was also announced during the PlayStation Experience keynote.

The company is hatching plans to better use its slate of IP, Noguchi says, including licensing and tie-up deals with different companies that cater to their own specific regions. 

The company recently ran a bundle deal for many of its classic arcade games with Humble Bundle.

What's not covered in the interview is whether the company's recent purchase by Chinese investors has any bearing on its move back into games. What is mentioned is the success of its mobile titles -- including a Tencent-developed version of King of Fighters '98 for mobile phones.

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