Netflix is hiring a seasoned executive for expansion into video games

nanoguy

Posts: 799   +12
Staff member
Editor's take: Netflix has been busy building its catalog of original works in an effort to become less dependent on licensing content from third parties, who are slowly locking the best of it away and into their own streaming services. The company is said to be exploring an expansion into video games, which is dangerous territory that others like Google, Amazon, and Disney have failed to navigate. If it really wants a piece of the $170 billion (and growing) global gaming market, there is little room for error as Netflix has only recently ended its run of debt.

The streaming wars are raging on, despite an oversaturated market where even the explosive growth of up and coming services like Disney+ is slowly coming to an end. Others like Netflix, who now has over 200 million subscribers, are exploring different ways to expand their services beyond video on demand.

According to a report from The Information, Netflix is hunting for a new hire that will preside over a new effort to get into the video games arena. Over the last few weeks, the company has been in talks with several game industry executives, but details are scarce about its progress on the matter. There's also no official job listing as of writing.

Image: Visual Capitalist

Netflix supposedly wants to emulate Apple's strategy with Apple Arcade by offering a bundle of games with no advertising or microtransactions. At this point, it's not clear if Netflix will offer third-party titles, but industry watchers speculate the company will focus on publishing games based on original Netflix intellectual property, such as popular series on its streaming platform.

This wouldn't be the first time the company has dipped its toes into video games. Over the last few years, Netflix has worked with game developers to create a game based set in the Stranger Things universe, as well as populate its streaming service with interactive shows such as Minecraft: Story Mode and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, to name a few.

The interactive format has been a gold mine of user data for the company, but at the same time it's been perceived as a gimmick that's been expensive to produce.

Must read: Against All Odds: How Netflix Made it

The timing is definitely interesting, as the growing gaming industry saw an additional big boost over the past year as more people were stuck at home during lockdowns. So much so that more Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are paying for video games now than ever before.

It's worth noting that three years ago, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the company considered Epic's Fortnite to be more of a competitor than say, HBO. Last month, during an investor call on Q1 2021 earnings, Hastings explained the company is already invested in gaming with the interactive movie format, and that "there’s no doubt that games are going to be an important form of entertainment and important modality to deepen that fan experience so we’re going to keep going."

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brucek

Posts: 812   +1,130
TechSpot Elite
I could see a good strategy here. It's not try to license GTA V and Call of Duty, or make games like them. It's make their own titles, aimed towards their large mainstream audience, that could be enjoyed casually as an alternative to picking a movie or show. They should aim for their own niche a la Nintendo.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 724   +1,309
Probably Witcher 3 or one of the properties that come with it (The Gwent card game or the upcoming mobile game. There's also an adventure 2d Witcher companion game too) but honestly, trying to copy Apple's strategy is not boding well: Just low quality mobile games but without the timers or loot boxes but nothing substantial.
 

envirovore

Posts: 216   +483
TechSpot Elite
I could see a good strategy here. It's not try to license GTA V and Call of Duty, or make games like them. It's make their own titles, aimed towards their large mainstream audience, that could be enjoyed casually as an alternative to picking a movie or show. They should aim for their own niche a la Nintendo.

I remember seeing articles and tons of people talking about their Stranger Things mobile game when they released that.
Something along those lines (tie-in casual games) that have the ability to be played natively on a computer may not be a bad start for them.

I'd be amazed if they're able to break into the market long term, especially if they consider the streaming route for games.
 

gigantor21

Posts: 293   +454
TechSpot Elite
A massive tech company with money to burn hiring veteran game developers to break into the game market? Here's hoping it goes better for them than Amazon and Google.
 

Eldritch

Posts: 324   +500
Don't get your hopes up. It's Netflix after all.

Most games will be show based tie ups with subscription or In App Purchases.
Movie/TV based shows have almost always been terrible and Netflix is simply interested as it already has the right to shows thus no royalty needs to be paid meaning more profits. They will simply cater to fandom of shows with cookie cutter games and nothing even remotely great will come out of it.

Call me skeptical but knowing Netflix and current trend of 'gaming', this is how it's going to be.