The biggest names in mass media are still investing in new technology, despite lingering questions about the mainstream appeal of virtual and augmented reality.
Twenty-first Century Fox has announced FoxNext, a newly created division of the company that will work with various kinds of new technology. The group will apparently be responsible for content that spans virtual reality, augmented reality, video games, and location-based entertainment.
Salil Mehta has been named the president of the division and will take on the post immediately, reporting directly to Fox Networks Group CEO Peter Rice, and 20th Century Fox Film CEO Stacey Snider. Mehta joined the company in 2013 and previously served as the president of content management for Twentieth Century Fox Film.
“Extending our storytelling to new platforms in new ways is a constant focus for us as we look to build more touch points with consumers every day,” Snider said. “Salil is quite simply the perfect executive to build this group into what we know will be an industry leader.”
FoxNext is being pitched as a continuation of the work done in the past by the Fox Innovation Lab. That group is best known for its work on a virtual reality experience that supplemented the release of The Martian in 2015 — similar content by the team will launch alongside Alien: Covenant and War for the Planet of the Apes in 2017.
The new division is also set to consolidate the company’s video game development staff into one unit. The company licenses many of its most popular properties out to developers, which has led to adaptations ranging from popular mobile title The Simpsons: Tapped Out to the atmospheric horror of Alien: Isolation. It remains to be seen whether the company will bring projects like these in-house going forward, rather than involving external development teams.
FoxNext seems to be a clear response to the changing face of entertainment. Younger audiences aren’t looking for the same types of experiences as their parents — and it’s crucial for major players like 21st Century Fox to ensure that it is cultivating talent that can work with new technology to produce cutting-edge content.