Nex is looking to partner with kidcos to develop more licensed motion games that let kids control the on-screen action with their movements.
The San Francisco-based tech company already has several original family-friendly games in its portfolio, including minigame collections Active Arcade and Party Fowl and dance game Starri. Plus it has signed licensing deals with Hasbro/eOne for a Peppa Pig motion game that kids can physically play along with. In Peppa Pig: Jump & Giggle, for example, a clip from the show plays until there’s a natural interactive moment—like when Peppa and her family jump in puddles—and then kids take over and compete on screen to see who can jump the most.
Nex launched in 2018, but its true potential was revealed during the pandemic, when stuck-at-home families were desperate for more active ways to play together.
Early Nex games like basketball title Homecourt (pictured) generated millions of downloads, and even though the pandemic is over now, company co-founder and CEO David Lee says broadcasters are recognizing an opportunity to turn the TV into a tool for getting active. Last month, UK channel operator Sky announced it had picked up Nex’s catalogue for its Sky Live interactive camera that viewers can use to make video calls and play games together.
And as it gears up to launch its own game hardware in December, Nex is looking to partner with more kids TV brand owners (and telecom companies) looking to turn TV time into a more active experience. Priced at US$179, Nex Playground connects to TVs and has a camera that tracks kids’ movements as they play a starter bundle of three games. Users can also sign up for an annual (or quarterly) subscription to access an additional 20 games.
Nex is currently developing 10 more titles to add to its arsenal, but that’s just scratching the surface of the potential for motion games, says Lee. While VR games and console titles have traditionally targeted more adult and hardcore gaming audiences, Nex is on a mission to open up the market to casual gamers who want to interact with IPs they love in new ways.
“We’re looking to create productive play time and more healthy screen time,” says Lee. “The games can be educational, get kids active, and even teach them how to play sports.”