Netflix revealed in its second-quarter earnings report that it will add video games to its service at no extra cost to the customer.
The company sees video games as “another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original films, animation, and unscripted TV.” The company will take it slow by focusing on mobile games first.
Netflix did not say when it will launch its gaming division or what games will be available on the platform, although some speculate the service could come as early as next year. If it’s any indication, the company recently announced that it has hired former Electronic Arts and Oculus executive Mike Verdu to be Vice President of Game Development.
Regarding the games that consumers can look forward to, Greg Peters, who is the Chief Product Officer at Netflix, said the new games will be tied to popular shows and this wouldn’t be the first time. In 2019, Netflix partnered with two game developers: Doppio Games which created The 3% Challenge based on the original series, 3%, and BonusXP that created Stranger Times 3: The Game.
Netflix isn’t afraid to get experimental with its content as seen with the movie, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, which had interactive elements and allowed the audience to dictate how the film played out. It was an interesting experience that may have fallen flat for some, but a good effort nonetheless.
Netflix isn’t the first company to put out a subscription-based gaming service as tech giants Apple and Google have released products that allow people to stream games, but as gamers are well aware, these products aren’t popular. People have long speculated that “subscription-based gaming” services will see widespread adoption and lead to a market boom.
Mobile games and maybe some more Bandersnatch-style interactive films makes more sense than the Stadia-style streaming service some folks were expecting.
But if those perform well, perhaps Netflix will build up to that? https://t.co/YtI7Np1dnD
— James Batchelor (@James_Batchelor) July 21, 2021
The Google Stadia was an attempt at conquering the subscription market, but it failed spectacularly. So bad that Google decided to shut down its internal game development studios.
If Netflix is serious about adding games to its service, there are major obstacles to overcome like Internet speeds. Take the United States which has some of the best Internet speeds in the world, but those speeds are concentrated in cities and come with a hefty price tag.
I can't wait for the future of cloud gaming and streaming games!
So looking forward to playing off of my internet connection
Fantastic /s pic.twitter.com/NSYqe7mXem
— Hector Collector (@HectorCollect) July 22, 2021
With ever-increasing costs, many people are not going to be able to afford the high-level internet speed needed for streaming games. Many titles demand a certain level of frames to enjoyably play and streaming eats up a lot of bandwidth. People without a top-tier internet connection cannot properly enjoy streamed games; again, look at Google Stadia. The sheer cost of managing everything killed the Stadia.
Speaking of costs, developers and publishers may not be happy with the money they get from the Netflix deal. Games are a huge investment for developers. They take a lot of time and money and the profit margin from a Netflix deal may be too low for a developer.
Netflix faces an uphill battle. Knowing all this, what do you think of this move? What do you think Netflix will make and will you play them?