Vox on Netflix's move into gaming

For Vox, Peter Kafka discussed Netflix’s intention to join the gaming industry:

[…] Here’s how Netflix says it will work:

The games will be bundled for free into Netflix’s main app, and for the time being will be primarily meant to be played on mobile devices, though they may eventually migrate to TVs.

The company thinks some of its games will connect in some way to Netflix-owned franchises — you can definitely imagine a Stranger Things game, though probably not a Sex/Life one — but it may also license existing games and brands from other developers.

Netflix is describing its move into games as an initial foray — “We think the time is right to learn more about how our members value games,” the company said in its quarterly earnings release — but also says it expects to be in gaming for the long haul. “This is a core part of our subscription offering,” Greg Peters, the company’s chief operating officer said during the company’s earnings call.

The company thinks the main value of its games will be keeping existing subscribers more engaged in the Netflix app, and thus less likely to unsubscribe. The games could also, in theory, help drive new subscriptions.

This seems risky for a company in massive debt, with a library full of mediocre Netflix exclusives propped up by a few popular titles. I’m not saying “stick to movies and series”… but I kinda am? Look at Google and Google Stadia (and YouTube Gaming). They should have been better at this and proved they were light years behind. The only reason Amazon is doing okay is because they bought Twitch, an already-successful streaming company, rather than start from scratch.

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