SNK nearly went bankrupt by Aruze's actions
In 2000, SNK was on the brink of bankruptcy, leading to the company being acquired by Aruze, a Japanese pachinko and pachislot manufacturer. Despite promising to SNK that Aruze would continue to use the company’s various game properties and help back the company, they were instead slapped onto pachinko machines, leading SNK to lose even more money due to Aruze deliberately under financing the company. Despite SNK seeing a small amount of success with the Capcom Vs. SNK series, this wasn’t enough to help save the company.
SNK closed it’s North American office on June 13 2000, with many of the company’s employees beginning to disband from SNK, some of which joined Capcom, some of whom founded Dimps, while many others founded Brezza Soft who continued to develop various Neo Geo titles. Aruze later halted the Neo Geo brand and closed several underperforming businesses. After milking all of SNK’s more useful assets, Aruze was simply going to let the company die off, leading to SNK’s founder Eikichi Kawasaki leaving the company to found Playmore. Brezza Soft were eventually finishing up The King of Fighters 2001 along with Korean game studio Eolith.
Aruze allowed SNK to simply file for bankruptcy in October 2001 with all of their assets put up for auction. Playmore later purchased the vast majority of these assets, later renaming the company to SNK Playmore and opening back up many of their closed divisions. SNK Playmore later sued Aruze for copyright infringement, as Aruze was still using SNK’s game properties even when these assets were purchased by Playmore. SNK Playmore won the lawsuit and was awarded 5.64 billion yen in damages ($57,627,468 in US dollars).
Unfortunately, and in a somewhat ironic way, the president of SNK Playmore at the time (Koichi Toriyama) stated that the company will be focused on Pachinko and Mobile games from now on while shifting away from console games altogether, but that's a story for another day.