It seems that Netflix is planning to move into video games.
Netflix has hired Mike Verdu, formerly of EA and Facebook/Oculus, as “vice president of game development,” which certainly implies Netflix is looking at creating its own games rather than just licensing out others (though, as it does with its current lineup, it would likely do both anyway).
Netflix is all set to Shock the world.
The company will reportedly build out its gaming team in the coming months to start offering games for streaming within the next year. Netflix isn’t exactly inexperienced in the area and previously developed games based on its popular shows. However, it released those titles on mobile and consoles.
From the sources, the company won’t be making a separate platform for its upcoming video games. It will instead make them available alongside its shows and movies under their own category.
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Also, the streaming giant reportedly has no plans to charge extra for game access, though it’s unclear if the additional content will lead to a future price hike.
With competitors popping up left and right, Netflix has been looking for ways to grow and ensure it stays ahead, especially in saturated markets like the US. Adding video games to its repertoire seems to be the answer it came up with recently. The Information first reported that the company was seeking to hire an executive who’d oversee its expansion into video games back in May. Apparently, Netflix approached several veteran execs in the industry regarding the position.
The subscription-based video game service would be similar to Apple Arcade, which gives subscribers unlimited access to its selection of games. With the global gaming market now exceeding $300 billion, according to an April study by consulting firm Accenture, Netflix’s move would open a new and highly lucrative stream of revenue for the streaming giant.
Netflix has never hidden its interest in video games and, more broadly, in interactive entertainment. The Los Santos firm has also tried the delicate exercise of interactive footage with Black Mirror Bandersnatch, a film where the viewer must make decisions instead of the main character.
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Along the same lines, Netflix launched You vs. Wild, a series of interactive adventures. At the same time, the world number 1 in VOD has released several adaptations of its flagship series, including Stranger Things and Casa De Papel in video games.
In an interview with AFP, a Netflix spokesperson said, “We’ve continually expanded our offering — from series to documentaries, film, local language originals, and reality TV. Our members can also benefit from a more direct connection to the stories they love through interactive shows like Bandersnatch and You vs. Wild or games based on Stranger Things, La Casa de Papel, and To all the boys. We are excited to do more with interactive entertainment.”
Netflix is no stranger to video games. It has aired shows based on video game properties such as Castlevania and Dragon’s Dogma. It also has the upcoming Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, and then there’s the animated League of Legends series coming to the service this fall, and there’s also the 3D animated Sonic the Hedgehog show Sonic Prime coming in 2022 and also the live-action Assassin’s Creed series in the works with Ubisoft.
The Bottom Line
If Netflix decides to enter the gaming scene, it might face difficulties similar to those encountered by Stadia. Amazon is learning its own gaming lesson right now with Amazon Game Studios. Amazon has already canceled one game, shelved another after placing it back in beta but still hopes to find success with its New World MMO.
Netflix will need to learn from its competitors and figure out why some of the world’s biggest tech companies have yet to find large success in gaming thus far. Microsoft, on the other hand, with its large, dedicated gaming arm, continues to thrive in the same space.