- FoxNet, the content technology unit formed in January by media giant 21st Century Fox, bought mobile game developer Aftershock, according to a press release by the company. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
- Aaron Loeb, who was president of Aftershock after it was spun out from game developer Kabam, will continue to oversee the company as president of studios for FoxNext Games. Prior to the acquisition, Aftershock had worked with Fox and James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment on a multiplayer mobile strategy game based on the Avatar movie.
- Aftershock will maintain offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. FoxNext divisions include FoxNext VR, which is developing a Planet of the Apes-themed experience, and FoxNext Destinations, which is developing a multiplayer virtual reality (VR) game based on the Alien franchise.
FoxNext launched in January to focus on videogames, VR, augmented reality (AR) and location-based entertainment. The new segment clearly wants to expand its parent company's popular movie franchises into interactive entertainment, including mobile apps. This news comes 11 years after Fox Interactive shuttered, which developed games like Aliens vs. Predator based on the film franchise. Aftershock, on the other hand, has a notable track record, helping to develop game franchises that grossed more than $100 million each and hundreds of millions of game installs, including Marvel Contest of Champions, The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth, Kingdoms of Camelot and Dragons of Atlantis — each of which won App Store Editors' Choice awards, per the press release.
One of the biggest projects will be developing Avatar into a hit mobile strategy game. FoxNext president Salil Mehta said the studio will decide whether additional games will be made based on the success of the first Avatar game, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The Avatar franchise is still quite popular, with fans flocking to Disney World to explore its new Pandora: The World of Avatar theme park.
The massive popularity of smartphones has likely shifted Fox’s strategy and attitude surrounding videogames since the company closed Fox Interactive in 2006, the year before Apple introduced its iconic iPhone. "We think the mobile space is interesting because you've seen businesses grow to super-size very quickly, and there are not many segments of entertainment in which you can do that," Fox head of television Peter Rice told The Street. AR and VR are still in their infancy, but consumers are becoming more aware of the technology and their limitations, which opens up ample opportunities for marketers.