The Information‘s report, citing “people familar with the situation”, reveals that Netflix has been approaching key figures and industry veterans in the gaming industry in order to recruit an executive to oversee an expansion into video games.
The suggested approach seems to be the Apple Arcade business model, which allows consumers to pay a fixed fee to access and stream a number of games via the service. Apparently, it hasn’t yet been decided whether Netflix will look to develop games itself, or with external publishers. However, it has reportedly confirmed internally that these games will not include advertising.Netflix has been very public about wanting to bring more Netflix content into the video games market, even hosting a panel about it at E3 2019. The streaming giant has previously released games based on the Stranger Things license, but this is the first time it has discussed streaming games from its own bespoke platform.
In response to the report, a Netflix spokesperson told The Information, “Our members value the variety and quality of our content. It’s why we’ve continually expanded our offering—from series to documentaries, film, local language originals and reality TV. Members also enjoy engaging more directly with stories they love—through interactive shows like ‘Bandersnatch’ and ‘You v. Wild,’ or games based on ‘Stranger Things,’ ‘La Casa de Papel’ and ‘To All the Boys.’ So we’re excited to do more with interactive entertainment.”
In an earnings call from 2020 (transcribed by The Motley Fool), Netflix co-founder, chairman and CEO Reed Hastings discussed his desire to jump into the video games industry. Reed stated that “video games [are] a great and interesting area, it’s got a number of aspects in terms of multiplayer that are changing, e-sports that are changing, PC-based gaming”.Netflix has been aggressively pursuing video game licenses to make Netflix original content recently, following the success of shows like The Witcher. Upcoming Netflix shows based off video game licenses include: Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, Assassin’s Creed, Sonic Prime, and Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. We’d still like to see that apparently cancelled Legend of Zelda Netflix show, thanks. And there are a number of other video game properties we’d love to see become Netflix shows, while we’re at it.
With more and more competitors entering the streaming market, Netflix will have to continue to adapt in order to compete and remain on top. Given that the video games market has remained pretty much untouched by Netflix’s direct competitors so far, it could be just the thing that continues to give them the edge as the streaming wars heat up.
Liam Wiseman is a Freelance News Writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter @liamthewiseman