Netflix’s Gaming Strategy: A Slow and Steady Approach to a New Frontier

Netflix, the world’s leading streaming entertainment service, has recently ventured into the gaming industry, launching a handful of mobile games for its subscribers. However, unlike some of its competitors, such as Google and Amazon, who have invested heavily in cloud gaming platforms, Netflix is taking a more cautious and gradual approach to this new domain.

According to Mike Verdu, Netflix’s vice president of gaming, the company is not aiming to replace consoles or compete with established gaming giants. Rather, it sees gaming as a complementary and value-added service for its existing and potential customers, who already love movies and TV shows.

“It’s a value add. We’re not asking you to subscribe as a console replacement,” Verdu said at TechCrunch Disrupt in October 2022. “It’s a completely different business model. The hope is over time that it just becomes this very natural way to play games wherever you are.”

Netflix’s Gaming Strategy: A Slow and Steady Approach to a New Frontier
Netflix’s Gaming Strategy: A Slow and Steady Approach to a New Frontier

Verdu also revealed that Netflix is “seriously exploring a cloud gaming offering”, which would allow users to stream games on any device without downloading or installing them. However, he did not provide any details or timeline for this project.

Netflix’s gaming strategy is aligned with its long-term vision of streaming entertainment, which it believes is replacing linear TV. In its overview, Netflix states that “streaming entertainment is expanding rapidly” because of the ecosystem growth, freedom and flexibility, and rapid innovation that it offers to consumers.

Netflix also believes that it has a major advantage over its linear competitors when it comes to launching a series or a film, as it can leverage its data and algorithms to personalize and recommend content to individual users. The same logic applies to gaming, as Netflix can use its user interface to curate and suggest games that match each user’s tastes and preferences.

Netflix has been developing its own games in its internal studios, as well as partnering with external developers and publishers. It currently has 55 games “in flight”, 14 of which are in-house productions. Some of the games are based on its popular original shows, such as Stranger Things, The Witcher, and La Casa de Papel.

Netflix’s gaming venture is still in its early stages, and the company is happy with its low-key start. It is not expecting to generate significant revenue or profit from gaming in the near future, but rather to enhance its brand and customer loyalty. As Verdu said, “We’re in it for the long haul and in it for the right reasons.”

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