Netflix Is Serious About Video Games

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Netflix Is Serious About Video Games

Source – www.adage.com

It was around two years ago that we first began to see rumours that Netflix would start making video games. According to some of its executives, it already has. The immensely popular Netflix show “Bandersnatch” was a game of sorts, allowing viewers to make decisions on behalf of the characters on screen and see the narrative change accordingly. The success of “Bandersnatch” convinced Netflix that people were interested in using their platform to play games, and now they’re determined to respond to that interest. Netflix’s new gaming division is expected to begin producing games within the next year – and it’s taking the matter very seriously.

While Netflix has experienced unprecedented success as an entertainment streaming platform, the company has almost no collective experience when it comes to making games. It’s looked externally to find the right people to head up the division, and the first big-name hire is Mike Verdu to work alongside Greg Peters. Verdu’s resume is impressive. He headed up the mobile gaming division of Electronic Arts for twelve months and more recently worked for Facebook developing Oculus games. However, it’s interesting to note that his experience of making “traditional” video games is limited. By hiring someone whose background is in mobile and virtual reality gaming, Netflix might be telling us something about the games they intend to make.

There’s a feeling among senior executives at Netflix that the company is doing all it can in terms of movies and television and must add more feathers to its bow if it wants to continue expanding. Gaming is the most logical choice. We’ve seen this happen before with online slots websites. Indeed, the whole Netflix model is based on the successful templates of online slots websites such as . By putting so many films and television shows in the same place, Netflix has reduced the need for people to go to movie theatres, buy DVDs or even have a cable subscription. Online slots websites have had a similar effect on casinos. However, with the market for such websites beginning to become saturated, some of the most successful slots sites have diversified their offering to include different types of casino entertainment. That appears to be the same philosophy that Netflix has applied to its offering.

Source – www.time.com

During the company’s last earnings call, which happened in April this year, COO Greg Peters said that Netflix is in a position of strength because it owns the copyright to so many popular characters and intellectual properties. While there would doubtless be money to be made by licensing these properties to other people so games could be made based on them, there’s more money to be made by doing the job “in house.” “Bandersnatch” was the first sign of the company exploring the possibilities of making its own games. It’s since been followed by a “Carmen Sandiego” game and a licensed “Stranger Things” game for mobile devices.

The recruitment of Mike Verdu is a confident first step for the company. Also, it demonstrates that work on launching the gaming division has been ongoing within the company long before the official announcement of its existence last week. Now that the cat is metaphorically out of the bag, speculation about what Netflix games might look like has begun. The hottest rumour on the block at the moment is that games will be added at no additional cost to existing Netflix subscribers. A new section will be added to the existing Netflix interface, and people will be able to play the games through their televisions using their existing remote controls. That would be a lovely thing to believe, but it wouldn’t make much sense for Netflix to spend (presumably) several hundred million dollars without the expectation of increasing profits as a result. The idea of games coming “free” to existing subscribers is probably wide of the mark, but the second aspect of the idea might be accurate.

As we’ve mentioned already, Mike Verdu’s career to date suggests that he knows more about augmented and virtual reality games than he does about the games you play on your PlayStation or Xbox. If customers can play a game with a standard television remote control, it presumably won’t be as sophisticated or specialised as anything that would necessitate the use of a video game controller. This is guesswork, but what we might eventually see is a fleet of titles influenced by “Bandersnatch,” with live-action performances and narratives that can be influenced by the user’s choices. We’ve already heard that one of the first games in development is based on smash-hit period drama “Bridgerton.” The show is filming its second season at the moment. Might actors also be filming content for a planned video game? Might that be part of the job of every actor who appears in a major Netflix production from now on? It’s possible.

While we might not be able to predict what Netflix’s games will look like with any accuracy, we can tell you that the markets like what they’ve heard so far. Within 24 hours of the company confirming that it will develop video games, share prices increased to $563.45 – a gain of 2.8%. Prior to the announcement, stock was up by just 1.3% year on year. Investors obviously like the idea of Netflix making video games and will like the idea even more if those video games go on to make money and reach a wide audience.

The potential for augmented reality games was demonstrated by “Pokemon Go” a few years ago. If Netflix is able to take lessons from that game and apply them to its rich content library, it could have found a winning combination. Within the past year, it’s seen big rival Amazon go into gaming with both the Amazon Luna streaming platform and the further expansion of the Amazon Gaming division. Netflix needed to respond in some form if it wanted to keep its position as the number one in the market, and now it has. Will “interactive TV shows” be enough to keep viewers hooked, or will most gamers cling defiantly to their PlayStations? Perhaps they’ll do both. We’ll find out soon.


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Author: Firdaus

I work as an IT consultant in the Toronto area and I love to write blogs about a variety of subjects. My passion for writing stems from the desire that everyone should have access to meaningful information. Whether it is a blog about society, culture, technology, or social media, I don’t want to miss the opportunity of sharing my thoughts with my friends and audience. Since I believe in mutual exchange of ideas, I am always on the lookout for a feedback on my writings.

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