A few years ago, Netflix said its biggest rival was not cable or other streaming services, but Fortnite, portraying video games and immersive worlds taking away potential streaming time. Now Netflix is taking steps to enter the gaming industry itself.
Netflix now has a games division, and they hired Mike Verdu, a veteran of EA, Zynga, and Oculus, to run it.
The idea is to have a “games” section on Netflix that’s listed alongside its normal streaming offerings, but people seem to see this title and let their imaginations run wild with what it’s going to be.
From Axios, we have a few details on the potential magnitude of this:
We’re supposed to think of it as a “little Apple Arcade” that has generally better quality mobile games, so probably don’t think of a sprawling AAA adaptation of Narcos or Ozark or something like that. When I first heard this, I immediately thought of the retro-style Stranger Things game that Netflix had previously ordered.
Supposedly, it would be a mix of Netflix IP related stuff and original work that Netflix orders directly. And allegedly, this will be download-based, not streaming, so likely limited to mobile devices like phones and tablets, which cannot be played on TVs (although they apparently don’t rule it out entirely. ).
This is expected to happen in 2022, and Netflix is also planning to set up real studios to make in-house games, but that has yet to happen.
In short, I think this is a much, much smaller scale than anyone thinks, at least in its early stages here. It doesn’t sound like a mega-real game streaming service offering like Google’s or Amazon’s, or a potential competitor to Xbox Game Pass. These appear to be much smaller games, mostly mobile style, some of which may be Netflix IP based, some not.
It doesn’t seem to be as groundbreaking as many titles suggest. Seems like the goal is just to get people to stay longer on the Netflix app with a games section, rather than switching to other gaming apps on their mobile device. More time in the app overall = better for Netflix. They don’t have the capacity to assume Major players in the gaming industry, which would require a colossal investment of time and resources. Obviously you can’t rule out Netflix’s long term plans for the gaming industry, and that sounds like a first step, but no it’s not another Stadia clone, no Netflix isn’t building a huge AAA studios to take on industry giants.
Not yet anyway.
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