Netflix is synonymous with video streaming and binge-watching. But there’s mounting evidence that the video streaming giant could be expanding into the world of video games. Over the past few days, reports from several notable publications have hinted that Netflix could be working on a subscription-based gaming service.
The Information was the first to break the news (via The Verge) on Netflix’s plans to expand into the gaming sphere. The publication reported on Friday that Netflix was looking to hire an executive to supervise new gaming efforts. The report also mentioned that the company was exploring a bundle of games similar to Apple Arcade and that Netflix had decided not to show ads in games. However, The Information points out that Netflix’s gaming plans are still “pretty much in flux.” A subsequent Reuters report corroborated that Netflix is indeed hiring someone to oversee its expansion into gaming.
Separately, a source familiar with the matter told Axios to consider Netflix’s gaming offering as a smaller Apple Arcade — rather than a full-scale game streaming service like Microsoft’s xCloud. The report further mentions that the service would consist of licensed Netflix intellectual property and original work commissioned from independent studios. Don’t expect Netflix’s gaming service to launch anytime soon, though, as Axios reports that the service is still far away in the future and “could be possibly launching in 2022.”
In a statement to The Information and Polygon, Netflix dished out a standard PR response, not discarding the possibility nor confirming it. But it wasn’t hard to read between the lines. From the overall tone of the statement, it appears the company is indeed working on something gaming-centric.
Our members value the variety and quality of our content. It’s why we’ve continually expanded our offering — from series to documentaries, film, local language originals and reality TV. Members also enjoy engaging more directly with stories they love — through interactive shows like Bandersnatch and You v. Wild, or games based on Stranger Things, La Casa de Papel and To All the Boys. So we’re excited to do more with interactive entertainment.
If one thing we have learned so far with gaming services is that it remains a tough and complex domain — Google’s Stadia struggles and Amazon Luna comes to mind. But with more than 200 million subscribers and years of experience in the entertainment industry, Netflix’s gaming service definitely holds a great deal of potential.
Netflix has toyed with the idea of interactive entertainment with movies such as “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” and” You Vs. Wild”. The company also has a growing list of titles based on popular games, including “Castlevania,” “The Witcher,” “Assasin’s Creed,” etc.