Lionsgate Pacts With Finnish Gaming Startup Next Games


The tie-up follows the mini-studio hiring Peter Levin to turn existing properties like "Divergent" and "The Hunger Games" into video games.

After hiring Peter Levin to get it into game development, Lionsgate has made its first bet in mobile gaming.

The mini-studio on Wednesday said it has invested an unspecified amount in Finnish games developer Next Games as part of a newly struck strategic partnership.

Lionsgate participated in Next Games' latest financing round as the mini-studio looks to develop mobile and social media games based on its existing properties.

"Their (Next Games) management team has a proven track record of creating popular and successful brands for some of the industry leaders in the gaming space, and their passion, innovation and entrepreneurial culture are a perfect fit with our own," former Nerdist Industries exec Levin said in a statement on Wednesday.

Lionsgate recently named Levin, a veteran digital dealmaker, as president of interactive ventures and games, with an eye to turning the mini-studio's IP like The Hunger Games and Divergent into games for mobile and social platforms.

The Next Games startup, led by CEO Teemu Huuhtanen, was launched last year by gaming veterans from Rovio, Supercell and Disney, and is currently developing a mobile free-to-play game based on The Walking Dead TV series in partnership with AMC.

For its part, Lionsgate in April pacted with YouTube star Freddie Wong and his RocketJump Studios to create content for online and traditional distribution.

And Lionsgate in 2007 bought a 42-percent stake in online video network Break Media, now Defy Media.

Next Games completed an investment round earlier this year to raise $6 million in financing from institutional, strategic and private investors.