What just happened? Netflix earlier this year said it was planning to double the size of its gaming library by the end of the year, and now we have a better idea of how they might go about achieving that goal. On Monday, Netflix announced it was establishing a new game studio in Helsinki, Finland. The studio is being crafted from scratch alongside Next Games, the game maker Netflix purchased earlier this year for $72 million.
Netflix also picked up Night School Studio in September 2021 and Boss Fight Entertainment this past March, and will soon have four gaming studios under its wing.
Night School Studio launched in 2014 and is best known for Oxenfree, a graphic adventure game that dropped in early 2016. Boss Fight Entertainment was founded in 2013 by Bill Jackson, David Rippy and Scott Winsett, and has put out two games to date.
Next Games was the biggest acquisition. Founded in 2013, the firm is best known for its series of games based on AMC's The Walking Dead. At the end of last year, the company had 120 employees and had generated more than $30 million in revenue a year earlier. Next Games is also based in Finland, which according to Netflix is home to some of the best game talent in the world.
The new studio will be led by Marko Lastikka, who previously served as GM and executive producer for Electronic Arts before joining Zynga as VP and GM in January 2017. Netflix said it is another step in their vision to build a world-class games studio equipped to turn out delightful and engaging games with no ads and no in-app purchases.
Netflix continues to drive home the notion that it's still early days for the new division, and that creating a game can take years. It's probably not too much of a concern, then, that user engagement for Netflix games is low. Eventually, Netflix will have to turn the corner if it wants to keep the effort alive.