Netflix has launched a gaming business, which will be led by Mike Verdu, a veteran of EA, Zynga, and Oculus.
Netflix claimed a few years ago that its main competitor wasn’t cable or other streaming services, but Fortnite, a game that represents video games and immersive worlds that take away potential streaming time. Netflix is now attempting to break into the game industry. The goal is to have a “gaming” area on Netflix alongside its regular streaming options, but many appear to be reading the title and imagining what it will be like.
“We’re encouraged to think of it as a “smaller Apple Arcade” with higher-quality mobile games, so don’t expect a massive AAA version of Narcos or Ozark or anything like that. When I first heard this, it reminded me of the retro-styled Stranger Things game that Netflix had previously commissioned.”
This is rumored to be a combination of Netflix-related IP and creative material commissioned directly by Netflix. And it’s rumored that this will be a download-only game, rather than a streaming game, so it’ll be limited to mobile devices like phones and tablets and won’t be playable on TVs (though they haven’t ruled it out entirely).
This is set to launch in 2022, and Netflix is also exploring forming its own studios to create in-house games, but nothing has been announced yet. In short, I believe this is on a lot lesser scale than most people believe, at least in its early stages. This does not sound like a megacorporation game streaming service like Google or Amazon has offered, nor does it sound like a possible Xbox Game Pass competition. These appear to be much smaller, mobile-style games, some of which may or may not be based on Netflix IP.
This does not appear to be as revolutionary as many headlines indicate. With a games area, it appears that the idea is to simply entice consumers to stay on the Netflix app for longer rather than switching to other gaming apps on their mobile device. Overall, more time spent in the app is better for the company itself.
Obviously, you can’t rule out the company’s long-term gaming aspirations, and this appears to be a starting step, but this isn’t another Stadia clone, and they aren’t constructing massive AAA studios to compete with industry behemoths.
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