Yesterday I wrote an article about how SNK Playmore was closing its US doors while Ignition US would handle distribution of the company’s game. It looked like people would lose jobs, not least Ben Herman, president of SNK Playmore US. It’s not every day I get a nice personal tip like this, so I ran with it — totally unaware of the can of crazy that would be opened.
Today, I spent some time on the phone with Mr. Herman to get to the root of confusion. We were able to clear the air and get to the root of the issue. First off, as you may have heard, SNK US is actually relocating to California. Ben Herman, however, is not going with them, as he doesn’t wish to move. SNK will not be renewing his contract.
Fair enough, right?
The story gets even nuttier than this, thanks to a little Rumor Smashing from Kotaku which was, ironically, full of rumor itself … from SNK. In SNK’s response to the rumors of closure, it said that Ben Herman was retiring — this is false. SNK also said Ben Herman was 60 years old — this is VERY false. SNK also also said that Ben Herman’s name was Ben Harman — do I need to explain the falsity of that one?
Hit the jump for SNK’s error-laden response.
It [the rumor] is not true. We are just planning to move to LA. Currently we have an office in NJ, but we should have the branch office in West Coast, because of time differences and access are much better than NJ.
Also, Ignition USA is located in LA (Marina Del Ray), so recently we have done co-publishing announcement with them.
We will keep our NJ office until 31st of December for our direct publishing in North America. Then we will move to LA. Previously as SNK NEOGEO Corporation, we had an office in LA.
[SNK founder] Mr. Eikichi Kawasaki is Chairman of SNK PLAYMORE USA. Ben Harman will retire from BOD as he is already 60 years old.
We will renew and revitalize our US corporation. We must keep our US corporation in North America. Currently we are developing KOF12 for next gen consoles, as you know. How we can close our US office? It is 10M$ project, we want US people know our passion for 2D fighting games.
We want to show that SNK is sticking to making 2D fighters and is the world leader in 2D fighters.
I’ve spent all day working on this story and I still can’t quite fathom how it got to where it is. Either way, we now know what exactly is happening, and who is NOT sixty years of age. Ben Herman isn’t retiring and is still looking to keep working within the games industry.
This is definitely one of the crazier stories I’ve worked on.