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News Corp Founds 'Full-Service' Social Game Publisher

Media conglomerate News Corp. is entering the gaming space with Making Fun, a new division focused on publishing social games developed by independent studios and headed by two execs from the space.
Media conglomerate News Corp. is entering the gaming space with a new division focused on publishing social games developed by independent studios. Called Making Fun, the business will initially target social networks, with the aim to expand into mobile platforms like smartphones and tablets down the line. Making Fun doesn't aim to develop any games itself, instead billing itself as "the first full-service publisher in the social games category." It wants to work with game developers to fund, market and distribute their social projects. As opposed to a basic distribution role, Making Fun says it'll be actively involved in providing financial and technical support for titles well into the live operation stage, helping build concepts into franchises. News Corp has tapped two executives from the social games space to head the effort: John Welch, cofounder of Diner Dash publisher PlayFirst, and Lee Crawford, who co-founded in-game economy middleware provider Twofish (since purchased by Live Gamer.) Welch says that the fast-growing social platform is at a stage where developers increasingly need publisher support. "Explosive growth in the social games space has attracted substantial game development talent, raising the costs to effectively compete," he notes. "Making Fun provides funding and other essential services to enable our partners to focus their energy on making great games," Welch adds. Making Fun has already secured three partnerships with unannounced developers who will release their games "later this summer", and says it's actively seeking more companies with which to work.

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