Following rumours and reports last week, Netflix has confirmed in a letter to investors that it will begin expanding into the video game market, offering games alongside video streaming at no added cost to its subscribers.
We’re also in the early stages of further expanding into games, building on our earlier efforts around interactivity (eg, Black Mirror Bandersnatch) and our Stranger Things games. We view gaming as another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original films, animation and unscripted TV.
Games will be included in members’ Netflix subscription at no additional cost similar to films and series. Initially, we’ll be primarily focused on games for mobile devices. We’re excited as ever about our movies and TV series offering and we expect a long runway of increasing investment and growth across all of our existing content categories, but since we are nearly a decade into our push into original programming, we think the time is right to learn more about how our members value games.
While there’s no firm timeline for when Netflix will offer their first bundled in gaming experience, they’re certainly picking up pace in making their plans come to fruition. Last week it came out that they hired former EA executive Mike Verdu, and they have been advertising positions for game developers, reportedly with plans to release their first games within the next year.
It’s also fascinating to consider what kinds of gaming experiences Netflix will create. Starting with a focus on “games for mobile devices”, the implication is that these will be smaller add-in titles that tie in with Netflix series and film productions, similar to the Stranger Things 3: The Game.
That also raises question marks over how Netflix will deliver these games to subscribers. While Google is open to streaming services like their own Stadia and Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, Apple is very much not, and has blocked all game streaming apps from iOS. Netflix could get around this by having users create a web app, similar to Stadia, Luna and Xbox Game Pass… but then who’s to say that mobile games really need to be streamed, and can’t be a separate download. One thing’s for certain: these game won’t be in the main Netflix app on iOS. Apple simply would not allow that.