June 17, 2024


Feel everything

Netflix commits to expanding its mobile gaming library



Netflix (NFLX) is badly in need of a big win.

While many have suspected that its felt the pain of overpopulation in a streaming space it helped invent, Netflix’s recent earnings report holds the hard truth up in an unflinching light.

Losing 200,000 subscribers is bad enough, but forecasting a loss of two million by June 2022 is even worse.

Seeing the reality of it all caused many an investor to run for the hills, resulting in a concurrent stock dip that sent Netflix plummeting 35%.

The pressure is at an all-time high for the company to find a new avenue for the innovation it built its kingdom on.

And since it’s already tried its hand at tapping the wealth of quality media that international film and television has to offer, now it’s turning its sights towards another billion dollar industry: Mobile games.

Netflix started its foray into gaming in November 2021 with five mobile titles, including two based on its popular original series “Stranger Things.”

And while the company has quietly continued to expand its gaming library, with its latest addition being the indie darling card game “Exploding Kittens,” which it will also adapt into a series, it’s now becoming clear just how big it’s planning to go.

What is Netflix’s Plan With Games This Year?

By the end of 2022, Netflix has a goal of releasing nearly 50 games, the Washington Post reports via “a source familiar with its plans.”

As with the previous releases, these games will be downloadable via the Apple App store and Google Play, but can only be accessed if you are a Netflix subscriber.

Netflix Chief Operating Officer and Chief Product Officer Gregory Peters also revealed more of the company’s upcoming strategy around games in the earnings call when he addressed the purchase of the “Exploding Kittens” property.

“[It’s] an initial step on a long road map we have around thinking about how do we make the film and series side and then the interactive games experience, sort of the interplay between those, magnify the value that our members are getting from both,” he said.

It’s not a leap to guess that the three gaming studios Netflix bought last year will be a key part of that.

Boss Fight Entertainment, the mobile developer behind Apple Editor’s Choice pick “Dungeon Boss Heroes,” was the first studio to be acquired, followed by Finnish company NextGames, which created the mobile game “Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales.”

Will Netflix Games Move Beyond Mobile?

There’s something different about Netflix’s third studio acquisition, Night School Studio, which produced the award-winning game “Oxenfree.”

Unlike the other studios, it has experience publishing for consoles, as its game appeared everywhere from Nintendo Switch to Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox (and on mobile as well).

So while it looks like Netflix’s big gaming push is mobile-centric for now, this move signals the possibility of expanding into bigger territory.

Netflix also understands it needs experienced talent to have a chance at breaking into this space as well, and it’s hired accordingly.

With both Leanne Loombe (ex-Riot Games director) now acting as head of external games, and and Mike Verdu (ex-Meta leader over its VR division) as vice president of games, it seems well-equipped to take on the challenge.

But in a space as crowded as mobile is today, it remains to be seen whether Netflix can find a way to truly stand out.

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This story was originally published April 26, 2022 1:00 PM.