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    SNK is a software and hardware video game company most well-known for their Neo-Geo arcade systems.

    The Mohammad bin Salman Charity Foundation is purchasing a controlling stake in SNK

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    jewunit

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    https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-11-27-crown-prince-of-saudi-arabias-foundation-to-buy-51-percent-stake-in-snk

    SNK, makers of The King of Fighters and Samurai Shodown, has gone through changes and purchases over the years. However, this recent change is a real 100 Mega Shock. A non-profit organization established by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia will be obtaining a 51% share of SNK in the future. A subsidiary of the organization has apparently already obtained a 33% share in SNK and has been working to train Saudis in aspects of game development.

    It is unclear how this change will affect SNK in the future. I would imagine that this significant investment in SNK would not be made just to bolster the video game development skills of Saudi programmers. Will it have an impact on the development of King of Fighters 15? Will the crown prince make specific requests of SNK in regards to new game development?

    This news has been hard for me to process. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on the matter.

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    bigsocrates

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    Companies get bought and sold all the time, including by foreign interests, and the impact is not always easy to predict. I wouldn't worry too much. On the plus side the fund is not a fly by night operation so SNK probably isn't going to be strip-mined for its IP, as we've seen happen to a lot of legacy gaming companies. On the minus side, it's obviously linked to a very politically conservative country, so there's likely to be a fair amount of censorship of various kinds, and possibly even the insertion of propaganda into the games. SNK games don't tend to be narrative focused so that's probably not a big concern, but there could be significant censorship on issues around sexuality. We won't see Mai in a burka but she may cover up some, and a character like King may see some changes too. Especially if the games are actually developed in Saudi Arabia as opposed to them just providing financing.

    These things always have a number of ways they can go. My guess is that in the short term not much will change except for some fairly minor censorship, and maybe some development moving to Saudi Arabia (which we may or may not notice.) In the medium to long term you may see bigger shifts.

    Now whether people want to spend money on products that are ultimately controlled by an extremely oppressive and violent regime is another story entirely. Of course it doesn't seem to stop people from spending cash on various things Tencent has invested in, and there is no ethical consumption under capitalism etc... so YMMV.

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    jewunit

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    @bigsocrates: Thanks for the thoughtful reply!

    I agree that SNK will move forward with its own game development, but I can absolutely see some of the content in the games being adjusted. Outfit/story changes to Mai and King are certainly on the table. We may see more Middle Eastern characters added to their games. Najd, a Saudi Arabian character, was added to King of Fighters XIV as part of a contest. As you noted, I think it will be a little while before any changes are made, but there is a shadow that is now going to hang over SNK's announcements/decisions . We will see if that impacts the number of people who purchase SNK's games.

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    Icemael

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    #4  Edited By Icemael

    The dream scenario is that the prince did this because he's a disgruntled SNK fan who considered their recent output to be the last drop and decided to just buy the company so he can force them to make beautiful 2D animation once again and usher in a renaissance of SNK properties. Considering this is a man who throws $50 million parties, that kind of frivolousness is not out of the question. Also, considering that he ships in hundreds of models for said parties and has them tested for STDs when they arrive, I wouldn't worry about Mai ending up in a burka.

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    bigsocrates

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    @icemael: What people are willing to do at private parties and what they are willing to do through public ownership of companies in a charitable trust are different things. Saudi elites might be libertines but their publicly owned companies don't operate in that way for various reasons. I don't think they're going to go fully into censorship because it would be nuts to buy SNK and do that, but don't base their tolerance of sexuality in public with their private behavior.

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    NameRedacted

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    Saudi Arabia actively and passively launders money for, and finances, terrorism.

    So there's that.

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    sub_o

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    They increased the stake from 33% to 96% today: https://www.snk-corp.co.jp/kr/ir/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Results_of_Tender_Offer_Korea_220210_English-2.pdf

    Then there's 9/11, but I'm not sure if MBS personally was involved or not.

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    CharAznableCustom

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    MeierTheRed

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    Oh yeah the dude who had a journalist assassinated. I saw a real nice take on Twitter from a real hardcore gamer. It went something like "Yeah so what if he had a person killed, sometimes you gotta break some eggs".

    As long as gamer´s get their video games, whats a few lives.

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    ZombiePie

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    @charaznablecustom: so, six out of the seven reasons why this is still a concern are valid?

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    cookiemonster

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    Hoping for Steve Bruce as a playable character in the next King of Fighters game

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    Shindig

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    That'd get me onboard. I hope is special move is just complaining in a press conference.

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    CharAznableCustom

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    @zombiepie: Got me there, ace. I was clearly trying to give people an out by pointing out he definitely didn't do 9/11 as a teenager. You understood my comment very well. Good job.

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    wollywoo

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    Ah yes, the Mohammad bin Salman Charity Foundation. They do such great work. I'd love to hear what portion of the aid goes to Jamal Khashoggi's family.

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