April 2022, we learned of the takeover of SNK by Saudi Arabia at 96%. This appetite for video games obviously has a goal: to allow the country to diversify its business and make its transition with the oil sector, which will obviously experience a decline sooner or later. We recall that Mohammed ben Salmane is passionate about video games, especially everything related to the NeoGeo, and the latter has already invested in the capital of Activision, Electronic Arts, Take Two Interactive, Naxon, Capcom and more recently Nintendo. A controversial man, his entry into the capital of video game companies around the world is obviously not viewed favorably by the public.
About us, we only focus on making games. We’re not a political company or anything like that, so it doesn’t affect us in any way. This has no effect on our creative output.
Asked about the issue of inclusivity, including LGBT characters, Yasuyuki Oda insisted that SNK remains in control of its creations.
We have complete freedom over what we want to do. And then honestly, the results speak for themselves. For example, if this was a real problem, then characters like Shermie probably wouldn’t be in the game. What I can tell you is that our owners are generally fans of IP, and they are forever, so it’s up to us what we want to do when it comes to content creation.
Like Quantic Dream, which reassured players about its total takeover by NetEase Games a few weeks ago, the arrival of Saudi Arabia will therefore have no impact on the creation of games and their content. It should therefore be remembered that Mohammed ben Salmane is above all a lover of the NeoGeo and that his interest is above all to make an increasingly lucrative business prosper, with the success of KOF XV, Samurai Shodown and the announcement of old past glories such as Fatal Fury / Garou Mark of the Wolves. Saudi Arabia will perhaps give the means of its ambitions to an SNK which only asks to shine with a thousand lights, as in the 80s and 90s.
96% acquired by Saudi Arabia, SNK assures that its games will not change as a result
Almost entirely purchased by a Saudi investment fund, the Japanese company SNK wants to reassure by confirming his freedom of creation which was his until now. An exit which aimed to respond to apparently legitimate concerns, Saudi Arabia having thus unfavorably illustrated itself on several occasions in respect of human rights.
Last February, the Japanese company SNK was bought out at 96.18% by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, the sovereign fund chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The same year, the MiSK foundation also put marbles in Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Embracer, Take-Two, Nexus, Capcom and Nintendo. The latter company then declared that it had been informed of this participation via the press.
96% bought by a Saudi fund, SNK claims not to be a “political company”
Under the conditions mentioned above, can we expect that future SNK productions will be calibrated to meet Saudi requirements and only them? For Yasuyuki Oda, producer and designer of King of Fighters at SNK, the answer is no.
“As far as we’re concerned, we’re just focused on making games. We are not a political company or anything like that, so it does not affect us in any way”.
In response to the question of whether SNK could introduce an LGBT character in its upcoming creations, Mr. Oda reminded that its majority acquisition by the Saudi fund does not in any way impinge on the development of the games themselves.
“It has no – no – effect on our creative output. We have complete freedom over what we want to create”.
Further, the producer mentioned the example of a character:
“If there was a real problem, then characters like Shermie probably wouldn’t be in the game”.
Hailing from the King of Fighters franchise, Shermie is known for blowing kisses at her opponents before every fight. For those who only play SNK productions and who do not see the news boycotted for this Saudi acquisition, the essential therefore seems to be safe.