Following the demise of hardcore favourite SNK, a legal soap opera to rival anything in Albert Square has ensued, with various firms arguing the toss over who has the rights to the valuable intellectual properties.
The main bone of contention has been between Aruze and Playmore, the pachinko giants of the East. Aruze, a co-developer of some of SNK’s Neo Geo titles, was part of the receivership body that finally wound up SNK last year. The firm feels that it got the short end of the stick in the later days of SNK, following its agreement to allow the King of Fighters creator to continue trading under a unique and complex pseudo-bankruptcy deal in Japan.
When SNK couldn’t prove that its debt was surmountable, bankruptcy followed, with a separate receiving firm acquiring all rights to all SNK games, leaving Aruze high and dry. Had Aruze been more aggressive in its bid to retrieve outstanding monies, it would more than likely have acquired all of SNK for itself.
Now Playmore, as if to rub salt into the wound, is suing Aruze for what it claims is unauthorised use of several King of Fighters characters in the recently released pachinko simulator, Pachi-Slot Aruze Oukoku 7. This further compounds the mistrust between the companies and joins an already outstanding case against Aruze filed by Playmore last year that also claims copyright breach.
These are two companies that need their heads banging together. Perhaps then they’ll realise that all gamers care about is the continuation of Metal Slug, King of Fighters, Samurai Spirits and the rest.
In other news, the long-awaited return of SNK into the US has moved on a fraction. The site that yesterday said, “For Updating Temporally Close” now reads, “Temporarily closed for updating.” Seems like the Engrish (ha!) police paid a visit.
Again, as soon as the announcement is made, you’ll read about it here.