SNK Corporation is a Japanese video game hardware and software company. It is the successor to the company Shin Nihon Kikaku and presently owns the SNK video game brand and the Neo Geo video game platform. SNK's predecessor Shin Nihon Kikaku was founded in 1978 by Eikichi Kawasaki. The corporation was initially named Shin Nihon Kikaku. "New Japan Project"). The name was then informally shortened to SNK Corporation in 1981 before becoming the company's official name in 1986.
SNK is known for its creation of the Neo Geo family of arcade, home, and handheld game consoles in 1990. The Neo Geo line was halted in 2001 because financial troubles forced SNK Corporation to close in the same year. Anticipating the end of the company, Kawasaki founded Playmore Corporation in 2001, which acquired all of the intellectual property of the former SNK Corporation. In 2003, Playmore Corporation was renamed to SNK Playmore Corporation. In 2016, SNK dropped the name Playmore from its logo and reintroduced its old slogan, "The Future Is Now", officially changing its corporate name back to SNK.
In 1988, SNK created the idea of a modular cabinet for arcades. Up to that point, arcade cabinets typically contained only one game. When an arcade operator wanted to switch or replace that game, it would have to completely remove the internals of the existing cabinet or exchange the entire setup for another game. SNK's new system, called theNeo-Geo MVS(short for Multi-Video System), featured multiple games in a single cabinet and used a cartridge-based storage mechanism. The system debuted in 1990 and could contain one, two, four, or six separate games in a single cabinet. To swap in a new game, all the operator had to do was remove one cartridge and exchange it for another. The MVS was an immediate success. It greatly shortened the setup time needed for each game, minimized floor space for cabinets, and reduced costs for new cartridges to US$500—less than half of what a traditional arcade unit cost at the time.
Compared to other consoles at the time, the Neo Geo AES had much better graphics and sound.It debuted at $599, sold with two joystick controllers and a game (eitherBaseball StarsorNAM-1975). Within a few months of the system's introduction in North America, SNK increased the cost to $649 and changed the pack-in game toMagician Lord. Alternatively, the console could be bought for $399 with one control stick and without an accompanying game. Other games cost at least $200 each. Joystick controllers contained the same four-button layout as the arcade MVS cabinet. The quality of AES games varied. Some, such as theSuper Sidekicksseries, were all-new creations, while others were updated versions of earlier successes, such asBaseball Stars Professional. SNK games were graphically bold and bright. Games such asTop Hunter: Roddy & Cathyand the famousMetal Slugseries were distinctive and instantly recognizable, contributing to the system's success in arcades.