Australian fitness firm OliveX has acquired UK-based Zombies, Run! developer Six to Start for $6.65 million. The agreement includes all of the developer’s issued shares, as well as an additional $2.85 million linked to the studio’s future performance.
Six to Start, which is specialized in fitness apps, is best known for Zombies, Run!, a 2012 mobile exergame for iOS and Android platforms. The game became the highest-grossing health and fitness app on Apple’s App Store within two weeks of its release and has been praised for its immersive storyline and mHealth features.
The game currently has 300,000 monthly active users, 50,000 of which are paid subscribers, who spend on average more than £25 per year, according OliveX. Following the acquisition, Six to Start founder and CEO Adrian Hon will be appointed chief innovation officer at OliveX. He will also continue to serve as executive director at Six to Start.
Zombies, Run! is set in Abel Township, a small town trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. Players take on the role of Runner 5 who must venture out to gather supplies for his neighbors and uncover mysteries by listening to audio narrations. Written by Naomi Alderman and a staff of writers, with contributions from sci-fi authors like Margaret Atwood and Andrea Phillips, the game was initially funded by a Kickstarter campaign, which raised $72,627 from 3,464 backers.
The game was conceived after Alderman attended a running class in which the instructor asked attendees why they wanted to run, and one answered, “I want to be able to outrun the zombie horde.” The developers wanted to include smartphone features such as GPS and the gyroscopes to create a mobile game. Although the game uses GPS and the accelerometer to estimate distance, they do not track location. Zombies, Run! has been described as “one of the few actual distance-based games.”
In May 2015, Zombies, Run! became free-to-play, and as of November 2015, the game is available on the Apple Watch. In addition, a spin-off game for the Apple Watch, codenamed Overwatch, is currently being developed.
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