Netflix Is Adding Games To Its Platform
The last few weeks have been full of rumours regarding Netflix and its foray into streaming games. From partnering with PlayStation to creating an entirely new platform, experts and gaming enthusiasts alike spent hours speculating. On July 14, 2021, the popular streaming platform confirmed the rumours by announcing it is adding gaming for existing subscribers. However, instead of pairing with another major brand, it will first focus on mobile gaming.
It would be fair to say, the market is already saturated with successful mobile games on both Android and Apple devices. Toss in web-based gaming like that available at Sky Casino, and there may not be a need for even more content, but that isn’t going to stop them from trying
An Effort To Retain Subscribers
Why gaming? Simply put, Netflix needs the boost. Last quarter, Netflix lost more than 400,000 subscribers in Canada and the United States. To the untrained eye, this is a drop in the bucker for a company that has more than 209 million active subscribers. To analysts, though, it’s a problem. Such a significant drop indicates that the company is nearing its peak and needs to take action if it wants to remain relevant.
Mike Verdu Joins the Team
According to Greg Peters, Netflix’s Chief Operating Officer, Mike Verdu will be the vice president of gaming development for the platform. Previously, Verdu was the vice president of Facebook’s team of developers who worked on its Oculus virtual reality headsets.
Licensed Content vs. Creating Something New
For now, Netflix plans to focus on licensing content to add to its platform. Eventually, it hopes to create its own content, much as it does with documentaries and comedy series. Some people believe the goal is to create a popular gaming character to eventually turn into a feature film or television series.
Rollout and Pricing
Netflix plans to build out its gaming department and the team that will run it over the next few months. The platform hopes to begin providing mobile games to subscribers within the next year. For now, gaming will not cost anything additional. However, consumers and experts alike don’t expect that to always be the case, especially if its games become popular.
So far, people are taking to the idea of Netflix adding games. Stocks had already been up 1.3% this year when the market closed on July 14. Overnight, Netflix gained 2.8% in its shares, opening at $563.45 on Thursday. GameStop Corp. is feeling the heat. The retailer has already been trying to make a comeback, but the announcement from Netflix caused its shares to fall as much as 7.5% in premarket trading on July 15.
There Is Healthy Skepticism
Despite appearances, not everybody is sure Netflix is making the right move. Wedbush’s Michael Pachter says Netflix is making an ill-advised move, as creating video games is expensive and remaining successful in the industry is difficult. There is also the added problem of not being console-based, which is likely to cause significant hurdles in the technology.
All you need to do is look at the failures in the mobile gaming business to see that Netflix has its work cut out. Disney is the most prominent failure at attempting to make mobile gaming content for consumers, but even video game-specific publishers like Activision and Ubisoft have trouble creating content that keeps users engaged long-term.
With tens of thousands of new games created each year, combined with the fact that Netflix will likely only be able to release a few per year, whether this foray into new content will truly be successful remains to be seen.