Netflix's video game push hampered by low user engagement

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,346   +166
Staff member
Bottom line: Netflix's journey into gaming is off to a decent start but they have a long way to go. Equally as important as building a great catalog of games is to get the word out. I'd argue that many people probably don't even know that Netflix currently offers games.

Netflix is planning to double the size of its gaming library by the end of the year but thus far, few have engaged with the streaming giant's offerings.

Netflix in mid-2021 hired former Electronic Arts (EA) and Facebook executive Mike Verdu to lead its push into the lucrative yet cutthroat video gaming industry. In addition to creating its own original content, Netflix believed video games could drive further growth and perhaps eventually become another viable revenue stream.

Its first batch of games started rolling out to Android and iOS users worldwide in November. To date, the company's catalog contains 24 titles including Stranger Things: 1984, Exploding Kittens and Mahjong Solitaire. A Netflix representative told CNBC that its library is expected to grow to 50 titles by the end of this year.

Leanne Loombe, Netflix's head of external games, said during a panel at the Tribeca Film Festival in June that they are intentionally being vague about their gaming plans because they are still experimenting and trying to figure out what works best and what resonates with subscribers.

Gaming is no longer a side hobby for Netflix. Earlier this year, the company acquired Finnish developer Next Games for $72 million and said it was open to licensing deals to develop games based on IP that people recognize. Still, members have been slow to engage with the new content.

According to data from app analytics firm Apptopia, games from Netflix have been downloaded a total of 23.3 million times and average 1.7 million daily players. Based on Netflix's 220.67 million subscribers at the end of June, that works out to less than one percent of its total subscribers. It's clear that most members aren't engaging with games between show releases.

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