Netflix branches out into gaming: Everything you need to know
On July 20th 2021, online movie and TV streaming service Netflix announced its plans to expand into video games. In this expected yet exciting turn of events, apart from its existing offerings, Netflix will be adding games to its streaming platform. The new addition is expected to happen by the beginning of 2022. The streaming service provider has already appointed Mr Mike Verdu as the Vice President of Game Development.
The OTT will begin with ad-free games for smartphones and tablets which will be available on the existing platform. There won’t be any additional cost charged to subscribers initially. The company was quite clear about one thing – this won’t be another way its charging you money (at first, at least). This is Netflix’s biggest move since 2013, when it released its first original show – House of Cards.
The company said that it is views gaming just as like another new content category for the platform, just like its expansion into original titles, unscripted TV and animation. The company added that it is excited as ever about its movies and web series offerings and expects a long runway of increasing investment as well as growth across all of its existing content categories.
But since they are nearly 10 years into their push into original programming, Netflix thinks that this is the right time to get to know and learn about how their members value games, said Netflix.
Want to know everything about Netflix entering the gaming industry? We have tried to accumulate all the information out there available Netflix venturing out into gaming in this blog. Read along to know it all.
What’s the inspiration?
You might ask, why is Netflix venturing into gaming and what inspired it to do so. As said by Netflix, it was the success of the interactive storytelling experience of “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” that inspired Netflix to explore more options of accommodating more interactive experiences to its platform. The company aims at creating new types product experiences and stories that deepen and enhance member engagement.
Games are to be added as a new category in Netflix
The OTT platform is trying to add more value and maintain a competitive edge in ever expanding streaming market. Netflix will be adding video games as a new category to its platform (which already has more than 700 million users across the globe). Meaning, there will not be a separate app or website for games by Netflix. All the games offered by the company will be appear in the gaming category, which will be available alongside other categories.
Again, subscribers won’t have to pay any extra charges to access video content. However, it is speculated that Netflix might use its gaming venture to justify any future price hikes to subscribers.
Game development might be outsourced by Netflix
Netflix is looking at its game development branch as a long-term investment and is most likely to outsource its game development. Though the company might have the intention and the right talent to produce its own games, the streaming titan doesn’t, at present, doesn’t have the bandwidth to do so. It will be, most probably outsourcing that work as then publishing the games on its platform.
Story-focused games on Netflix
Netflix is essentially all about telling stories – happy stories, funny stories, real stories, haunting stories and tragic stories. How can it not extend its values and foundation to its gaming initiative? After reading the descriptions mentioned under job postings of Netflix, the video game content they have the desire to make won’t be around the RPG or FPS gaming enthusiasts.
At first, the games to be released by Netflix will be more around the lines of interactive stories rather than the conventional video games. The main focus of Netflix will be on creating gaming-like experiences and not “gaming” per se.
Most loved Netflix Originals may become games
Stating the obvious – Netflix has created some mind-blowing titles. There’s high possibility that it will be scanning through and licensing its own original titles to adapting them into video games.
So, expect something like what they did with Bandersnatch by creating an immersive, gamifies experience for its subscribers. Some popular, loved original shows of Netflix, like The Umbrella Academy, Stranger Things, and Ozark, could see their video game adaptations.
Netflix might offer downloadable games to subscribers
Kotaku former Editor-in-Chief Mr Stepehn Totilo said on Twitter that if Netflix is offering video games, the games will be downloadable through the platform and not streamed off the app or website.
Now, this tweet gives a completely fresh angle to people believing Netflix will only be offering “game-like” interactive experience. But this is only a speculation. The company might also offer interactive stories in the beginning and push out hefty video games later. As of now, none of it has been confirmed by Netflix.
Cloud and consoles
The primary focus of Netflix’s gaming branch will be mobile games. However, executives also said that all devices already supported by Netflix will be candidates for video games as well. This would include gaming consoles like PlayStation and Xboxes, as well as connected TVs and desktop computers.
Though Netflix did not, in any way, specify when its gaming category would be added to its platform, it only said that the initiative is still in its “early stages”. The company also mentioned that it is a “multiyear effort.”
A report by Bloomberg last week mentioned that Netflix plans to expand into games within the next year. Netflix also said that it will be experimenting with making games based on existing Netflix franchises so fans can dive deeper into their favorite shows, movies and their characters.
However, the company will also be trying out some standalone games that will be completely original and that can potentially spinoff into shows or movies themselves. Now that’s exciting!
Moreover, Netflix games will not have ads. Additionally, there won’t be any in-game purchases and members won’t have to buy video game titles individual.
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