[UPDATE: 16/07/2021]: In bid to ramp up their foray into the gaming world, Netflix has confirmed the hiring of Mike Verdu as Vice President of Game Development. With the new hire, Netflix has confirmed their intentions to enter gaming “within the next year”, with the category likely listed on the existing Netflix interface as a new genre – just like Documentaries and Horror films would be, for example.
The Netflix gaming experiences will reportedly be included in the current subscription price, so no additional charge is expected.
As for what kind of content to expect. Well, Verdu is a former executive who has worked with mobile gaming companies like Zynga, served as lead on EA Mobile for a year, and has worked with Facebook to help them acquire a series of Oculus game developers. With his involvement, current online speculation is pointing towards virtual reality experiences.
According to a new report released this week by The Information, Netflix are seriously considering a move into the video gaming industry to compete in the growing cloud-based games market. Although, as expected the streaming giant is keeping the specifics tight-lipped.
The solid rumour seems to be centred around a quote by people familiar with the situation indicating that Netflix want to push deeper into “interactive entertainment.” While the internet has taken that be an obvious reference to the gaming industry, given Netflix has apparently been approaching veteran game industry veterans recently, it could also be a reference to the service’s most successful foray into interactive content to date, that being the “choose your own adventure” film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.
Several other reports – most notably from Reuters and Axios – also claim multiple sources familiar with Netflix’s video gaming plans have loosely compared the project to Xbox Game Pass or Apple Arcade, which is Apple’s program of high-quality, add-free mobile games offered on a paid subscription basis.
It would make complete sense for Netflix to look towards video gaming with a more hands-on approach. After all, the past few years has seen the service produce several original series based on video game franchises such as Resident Evil and The Witcher. In 2019, the service even partnered with Telltale Games on a Stranger Things video game, despite that never actually seeing the light of day (although Telltale did develop Minecraft: Story Mode – another interactive piece of content that is available on Netflix).
The reports indicate 2022 as a launch date for this potential Netflix Video Games platform. That would mean the team should already be moving quite quickly, which would explain them approaching various gaming industry executives. Although it could also mean that Netflix are just shelling out more intellectual property to third party studios so that we could be seeing more video games based on Netflix original shows.
Whatever it is, at least we’re all but guaranteed to see more crossover between Netflix and the wider video gaming industry.
Keep up to date with all the new releases coming to Netflix Australia next month.