Netflix Adding Video Games to Streaming Service in the Next Year
Netflix is a giant in the streaming world. As many more competitors entered the space, the platform held its ground. While many begin to decide which few services to subscribe to, everyone needs to be on their game. Netflix already has massive amounts of original content. They’re also constantly adding old movies and TV shows to their expansive library. The company is now set to venture one step further into another form of entertainment: gaming. A major games industry exec is joining the company to lead the charge in what Netflix hopes to launch within the next year. Could this be a great move for the company? Netflix adding video games to their streaming service offerings sounds good on paper, but it might end up being a wrong move. Here’s our initial takes on the news and what you need to know.
Netflix Mastered the Streaming World and Aims to Take on Video Games Next
Image Credit: Netflix
As Amazon Prime Video and IMDb TV nab a Universal Streaming Deal and Peacock adds the WWE Network to its offerings, the competition is hot. HBO Max and Disney+ are killing it as well, which leaves Netflix in an interesting position. Bloomberg is reporting that one move to bolster their lineup of content will include video games.
It makes sense for Netflix to want to get into video games. They have ownership over some major properties that could fit well in the game medium. For example, Stranger Things already has its own game that wasn’t half bad. Bonus Xp Inc. developed and published Stranger Things: The Game in 2017 and it was pretty okay. Netflix can’t settle for “pretty okay” anymore, however. They need to compete with a rising number of streaming services for those precious monthly subscription fees.
Joining Netflix as vice president of game development is Mike Verdu, a name well-known in the games industry execs circle but almost certainly to nobody at home. That’s not a slight on Verdu; his resume speaks for itself. With a hand in the recent boom of Oculus VR equipment and a great run at EA in the mobile games department, he knows his stuff. That said, Netflix is far from a ready-to-go games company. They know content, but do they have what it takes to become an actual player in the video games industry?
Not So Hot Take: This is Either Going to Go Great or Crash and Burn for Netflix
Image Credit: Sony
This isn’t a revolutionary idea, and in some ways, it’s sort of like hedging your bets on both ends. Either way, I predict Netflix is heading for one of two extremes with this venture. Firstly, the more likely scenario. Netflix might put some real effort into this experience on their platform and see it go nowhere. Let’s say a few years of okay releases put Netflix at a point where the games thing isn’t working out. They might say “to hell with it, let’s just publish games.” That would honestly be the smarter move in my eyes, but they’re not settling for publishing with this push to add video games to the Netflix streaming experience.
As noted in the Bloomberg piece, “the games will appear alongside current fare as a new programming genre,” which is why Netflix wants to develop in-house. They control the timeline, the team, and they have a good visionary leading the charge. The only issue is that these sorts of alignments need things to go according to plan. If you follow gaming news, then you know things often do not go according to plan. Hitting a game release date for a new show coming out is going to take a lot of precision and hard work; those two things can tend to lead to crunchtime for developers and overwork.
Of course, the other end of this is that the expanded offerings of content tied to popular shows are revolutionary. Imagine streaming Netflix from your PS5 and seeing the new Bridgerton season is out. Wait, what’s this: a Bridgerton RPG where you can find your own true love in the Regency Era? Count me in. The accompanying games to popular shows like Stranger Things could keep the programs on people’s minds for longer periods of time. Plus, with a video game, the IP isn’t just on an audience’s mind, it’s in their hands as they interact with it directly.
Here’s to hoping the Netflix streaming expansion to video games goes well, for their sake and ours as gamers.
Featured Image Credit: Netflix
Taylor is the Gaming Editor of Comic Years and a lifelong fan of video games. He holds two degrees in Political Communication and wrote a Master's Thesis on resistance movements, race, and the exploitation of college athletes. His wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards keep him sane.