Lionsgate has formed a partnership with Finland-based games developer Next Games under which it will invest $2 million in the startup, as the studio looks to extend entertainment franchises like “Hunger Games,” “Twilight” and “Divergent” into the segment.
Next Games announced the first part of its external investment round earlier this year, raising $6 million in financing from institutional, strategic and private investors including China’s IDG Capital Partners, Lowercase Capital and York Ventures. The amount of Lionsgate’s funding in Next Games was not announced; a source familiar with the investment confirmed the $2 million figure.
The Helsinki-based startup was founded in 2013 by veterans of “Angry Birds” publisher Rovio, Supercell (“Clash of Clans”) and Disney. Next Games this spring announced a deal with AMC Networks to develop a mobile free-to-play game based on hit zombie series “The Walking Dead.”
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Lionsgate recently hired Peter Levin — co-founder of Nerdist Industries, the digital division of Legendary Entertainment — as president of interactive ventures and games.
“Gaming is a logical next step in extending our content portfolio, and we’re very excited about the potential of our partnership with Next Games,” Levin said in a statement. “We see them as a prolific source of the next generation of games, creating exciting and engaging properties based on our franchises as well as new content that we develop together.”
Next Games CEO Teemu Huuhtanen added that Lionsgate has “proven their strength in not only creating fascinating new stories for the world but doing a stellar job of marketing and turning them into blockbuster entertainment franchises.”