SNK, the creators/developers of signature fighting games such as The King of Fighters, Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, and Garou: Mark of the Wolves, has announced that they are going to release a brand new console in 2021. In the tweet, it states that the new hardware will be a ” system to bridge the needs between passionate fans and console gaming enthusiasts!” While the company did not offer any more information than the tweet, you can see a clear image of a Wi-Fi signal logo above the main header, which might indicate that the console will utilize some online capabilities.
— SNK GLOBAL (@SNKPofficial) December 15, 2020
The announcement comes off of the recent news that a division of Saudi Arabia’s MiSK Foundation, which is owned by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, purchased roughly 28.8% of SNK’s stock shares. Interestingly enough, most of these shares are actually owned by Hong Kong’s Zuikaku Co. Ltd., although the MisK Foundation states that they plan to acquire the company by purchasing another 17.7%, which would give them more than 51% of the company’s shares. It’s possible that this sudden influx of value has given SNK a much-needed boost to continue their endeavor in the console market.
For those who don’t know, SNK has actually produced two home consoles in the early to mid-1990s, the NEO-GEO AES (Advanced Entertainment System) and its CD-based successor, the NEO-GEO CD. Both systems were offshoots of the popular SNK arcade cabinet, the NEO-GEO MVS (Multi Video System), which has become something of a collector’s item for arcade game enthusiasts. While the NEO-GEO had a solid fan base, they were absolutely crushed by Nintendo, Sega, and Sony during the era known as the Console Wars, where the Super Nintendo, the Sega Genesis, and the PlayStation all went onto dominate the market for the rest of the 1990s.
SNK continued strictly with video game development into the 2000s, while also re-releasing a brand new version of the NEO-GEO AES dubbed the NEO-GEO X. Ironically, this system was utilized as a hybrid home console/handheld similarly to the Nintendo Switch. Since then, SNK has been focusing on new installments of The King of Fighters, as well as re-introducing their classic fighting games into the PC market with new rollback multiplayer. How this new system will work in 2021 and beyond is anyone’s guess, but it will be interesting to see what the company does before and after it launches.