Entertainment giant Disney is reportedly taking another big step away from in-house game development. According to sources speaking to financial publication Bloomberg, Disney is planning to sell the game developer/publisher FoxNext, which it picked up through the acquisition of Fox earlier this year.
The site reports that different Disney executives, including direct-to-consumer boss Kevin Mayer, considered keeping FoxNext. However, Disney CEO Bob Iger reportedly shut that down, and it was ultimately decided to sell FoxNext. Officially, Disney had no comment.
FoxNext was founded in 2017 with the aim of handling Fox’s video game, virtual reality, augmented reality, and theme park endeavors. In 2018, FoxNext announced it was working on a new Alien shooter with a team made up of people who worked on BioShock, Borderlands, and Star Trek: Online.
In terms of games that FoxNext has already released, the company worked with Aftershock Studios on the mobile game Marvel Strike Force; it was released in March 2018. Earlier in 2019, FoxNext announced it created an program to fund the development of indie games; the first of these was the gravity-based puzzle game Etherborn.
If Disney does decide to sell FoxNext, that would be little surprise given that the House of Mouse has been moving away from internal game development for a long time already. In 2016, Disney shut down the Disney Infinity toys-to-life series and closed developer Avalanche Software in the process.
Before that, Disney closed down Tron Evolution studio Propaganda Games, which was working on Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned before its cancellation. Disney also owned the game developer Black Rock Studios that made the excellent racing games Pure and Split/Second before it shut down that studio, too. Disney also developed the Epic Mickey video games with Warren Spector’s Junction Point Studios, but the company ended the franchise and closed the developer in 2013.
Bungie founder Alex Seropian was heading up Disney’s gaming business before he left to form a mobile game studio called Industrial Toys that EA later acquired.
During an earnings call earlier this year, Iger talked about Disney’s rocky history with game development and publishing.
“Over the years we’ve tried our hand in self-publishing, we’ve bought companies, we’ve sold companies, we’ve bought developers, we’ve closed developers. And we’ve found over the years that we haven’t been particularly good at the self-publishing side, but we’ve been great at the licensing side which obviously doesn’t require that much allocation of capital,” Iger said.
One of Disney’s video game licensees is EA, which signed a 10-year deal with the company to make Star Wars games. Iger said these licensing arrangements have been a positive for EA on the video game side, and you can expect them to continue in the future.
There is no word as of yet regarding potential buyers for FoxNext, if Disney is indeed selling the company. Keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.