In 2019, Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings declared that Fortnite was one of the streaming service’s biggest competitors. Indeed, electronic games have become in recent years a mainstay of the busy entertainment industry, grabbing not only revenue but screen time from companies like Netflix.
The red giant has about 210 million subscribers worldwide, who spend approximately 3 hours a day, on average, on the platform. In contrast, a non-ignorant portion of 2.8 billion people use up to 2 hours a day in front of a video game.
Image: Publicity/Paula Fróes/Government of Bahia
As the old saying goes, if you can’t with them, join them. Aiming to expand the consumer market and face new competitors with the arrival of HBO Max and Disney+, Netflix announced at a meeting for shareholders that, in 2022, it will include mobile games at no extra cost in the subscription.
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We don’t know what types of games will be offered or how they will be presented on the platform. The movement, however, does not escape a diversification that the streaming giant likes to do.
Netflix was born in 2007 as a DVD distributor and rental company. The business model has evolved over the years for the streaming industry and will likely continue to evolve. Betting on the gaming market is an outlet for new fronts against the competition. The large number of players around the world is a potential market for Netflix subscriber growth.
In the beginning, Netflix rented DVDs that were sent by mail (Image: Playback/Wikimedia)
What to expect from games on Netflix?
In an e-mail conversation with Canaltech, João Paulo Veiga, spokesman for etermax, the company responsible for multiplatform titles such as Asked, was optimistic about the arrival of Netflix as a platform for online games.
“A new distribution channel is always interesting for developers. This means that we can reach different audiences”, he reported.
João Paulo Veiga, spokesperson for etermax (Image: Disclosure)
Asked is available for mobile, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Watch, Twitch, Instagram augmented reality filters, as an animated series, as well as being sold as a board game, cards, books and magazines.
Asked what kind of guarantee Netflix needs to offer to attract not only companies that produce for multiple platforms, but other game studios, Veiga said: “We follow users, no matter where they spend time and have fun. We are open to considering Netflix as a new channel as our gaming universe is always expanding and evolving,” he said.
According to Veiga, studios should be interested in Netflix’s incursion for the same reason the company decided to enter the market: new users. “The wider the catalog, the less likely people are to leave the platform. For game developers, a new distribution channel is always interesting. That means we can reach users we haven’t reached before. However, we still don’t know what Netflix’s business offering for game studios will be, so we have to wait and see.”
Netflix gaming experience
Initial information indicates that Netflix should bet on games based on series and platform productions developed by other studios. If implemented, the step will be one more of a journey already underway to bring the service closer to the gaming market.
Netflix has licensed the Stranger Things series to developer BonusXP, which has released three season-inspired games about the inverted world story for consoles and PC.
Another title in the service’s catalog that gained its own game in video games was The Enchanted Crystal: The Age of Resistance.
The Tactical Enchanted Crystal: The Age of Resistance is a tactical game inspired by the production of the same name (Image: Publicity)
Directly through the service’s player, Netflix even experimented with the gamification of some of its series. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Kimmy Schmidt versus the Reverend are productions with interactive content, which allow the viewer to take the reins and choose which paths the characters will follow with the remote control.
The experiences, similar to those of narrative games like Life is Strange, are available in the catalog and may indicate a possible path for Netflix’s foray into the gaming market.
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