Netflix Is Getting Video Games

Image for article titled Report: Netflix Is Adding Games "In The Next Year"

This was hinted at back in May, but just became a bit more real, with Bloomberg reporting that Netflix is planning to add games to its subscription service sometime within the next year.

Netflix has hired Mike Verdu, formerly of EA and Facebook/Oculus, as “vice president of game development”, which certainly implies Netflix is looking at creating its own games rather than just licensing out others (though, like it does with its current lineup, it would likely do both anyway).

While it’s not mentioned in the story itself, in terms of a timeline Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says in this accompanying tweet that “Netflix is planning to add video games to its service in the next year”

While this might initially seem like a weird move for a company that made its name with movies and TV, it makes a lot more sense when you consider Netflix is a media company that pictures itself at war not just with Amazon Prime and Disney Plus, but with anyone who is trying to sell content that’s played on a living room TV.

Netflix executives have no doubt been looking at Microsoft’s growing success with the Game Pass platform and thinking, yes, this is something that we too could be doing, and making millions/billions from, just like Amazon have done (and fucked up), and just like Google have done (and also fucked up).

This is good news for…Netflix shareholders? I guess? But the more this industry starts leaning towards subscription-based services as a means of generating revenue, the more dangerous this all becomes to us, the people actually paying for and playing the games.

Take this recent Gamasutra story, for example, which shows Google is about to start giving developers a cut based on how long people play their game. That might be how TV series’ are judged but…is not how video games work, and will clearly prioritise the development of long grinds over shorter, more impactful experiences.

We’re in danger of heading that way anyways, given the metrics Microsoft must be sitting on from Game Pass and that Google would also have looked at to have instituted that policy in the first place, but Netflix getting in on the action just feels somehow even worse, given the company’s own obsession with “hours watched” and its ruthlessness in killing off shows.



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