Netflix Announces Serious Push Into Game Development, Included in Subscription


by in General | Jul, 22nd 2021

Netflix is looking to break into the games business. While this was initially reported a few weeks back when Netflix hired Facebook gaming executive Mike Verdu (who previously had stints at Oculus, Electronic Arts and Zynga), as vice president of games development.

Netflix’s push into gaming could help diversify subscription benefits

Now, in an earnings call, Netflix has revealed their plans for gaming, which will begin in the mobile gaming space, and could eventually expand to consoles. But it doesn’t seem that they are looking to charge any extra money, insistent that they are a one-product company, and that these games would be included in the same monthly subscription that you get your streaming movies for. Netflix also stated that these games would be ad-free, and wouldn’t feature microtransactions – at least at first. 

Netflix has long been of the opinion that they have been competing for people’s time with not only television and traditional cable companies but video games like Fortnite (which they called out back in 2018) or YouTube. As gaming is one of the biggest untapped markets for Netflix to be able to dive into, at a staggering $178 billion last year despite the pandemic, it seems that this is their next great frontier, and could even be looked at as equivalent to the company’s Originals initiative that got them to be such a powerhouse in the first place. The streaming giant also has a lot more competition in the streaming arena than it did back then – which could be a driving factor behind Netflix’s decision to expand to the gaming market and diversify their benefits for subscribers that differentiates them further from their competition. 

Of course, Netflix is far from alone in the gaming arena among streaming platforms, as both Amazon and Apple have announced their own plans for gaming. Amazon’s Luna will be a streaming platform with a cloud gaming component, while Google has put money into Stadia (though that’s looking more and more like a failed venture already.) Apple has also expanded their efforts into the Apple Arcade, so this move certainly is not without precedent, though Netflix’s competitors in this regard have a far bigger war chest to make something like this work – and even then, saying success has been limited would be very kind. 

There’s a rich opportunity to continue to deliver and advance the technical capability to improve the quality of game experiences we can deliver across the range of devices,” Greg Peters, Netflix’s chief operating and product officer, said Tuesday.

Netflix has stated that their gaming operations would be a multi-year effort, and though they are focusing on tablets and mobile devices first, these games could eventually come to consoles like Xbox and PlayStation as well. The company wants to experiment with making games based on existing Netflix franchises so fandoms dive deeper into their stories and characters, but it’ll also try original games that are wholly original, which then could spawn their own spinoff shows or movies. 

Netflix has one service with multiple tiers, which all access the same catalog but can unlock perks like additional simultaneous streams and better video quality the more you pay. In the US, it has three tiers priced at $9, $14, and $18. In India, it offers a mobile-only plan for roughly $3 a month (199 rupees), and it plans to expand those cheap, mobile plans to more emerging markets.

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