Following their acquisition of 21st Century Fox, Disney is reportedly planning to sell FoxNext, a game developer and publisher previously owned by Fox, according to Bloomberg. FoxNext was founded in 2017 with the intention of handling all of Fox’s video game, virtual reality, augmented reality, and theme park projects. The company predominantly focuses on making free-to-play mobile games based on popular entertainment franchises, such as Marvel Strike Force.
They currently have games in the works based on Avatar and Alien, the latter of which was first announced in 2018 with a team of people who previously worked on BioShock, Borderlands, and Star Trek: Online working on it. Earlier this year, the company also started a program to help fund the development of indie games, with the first game to come out of it being the puzzle game Etherborn.
Disney direct-to-consumer chief Kevin Mayer and other senior Disney executives initially discussed keeping FoxNext after the merger. CEO Bob Iger reportedly led the final decision, saying he no longer wants to make video games. This echoes a comment Iger made in a conference call earlier this year, when he asserted “that the best place for [Disney] to be in that space is licensing and not publishing,” as Disney generally licenses its characters to other companies for game adaptations.
Though Disney hasn’t made an official statement on the matter, Iger’s stance doesn’t come as a surprise given Disney’s recent history with video games. In 2016, they discontinued the Disney Infinity franchise, which featured three games and a line of accompanying toys, after shutting down their in-house developer and publisher Disney Interactive Studios and other companies working on the franchise, such as Avalanche Software. Before that, they closed Junction Point Studios after ending the Epic Mickey franchise in 2013. More recently, they discontinued the popular online game Club Penguin and completely rebranded it in 2017.
It’s unclear what—if any—potential buyers FoxNext may attract if Disney does sell the company.