Report: Netflix Is Adding Games ‘In The Next Year’

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).

“The idea is to offer video games on Netflix’s streaming platform within the next year”, the story says, while also reporting that “the company doesn’t currently plan to charge extra for the content”.

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.

Comments

  • If the quality of their original content is anything to go by, I expect the mobile shovelware market might have some new competition for bottom of the heap.

  • “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.”

    Not necessarily. If you can create an short but still amazing experience, word will spread about it and more people will try it. People’s time is becoming more and more limited and they may not want to launch themselves into epic, sprawling adventures that take 40, 50 or more hours to beat. A short game would be much more palatable. So even though the game would be shorter, more players would be playing it, increasing the overall playtime.

    At the end of the day, if someone plays a game that only takes 5 hours to beat for 5 hours, or if they play a game that takes 50 hours to complete for 5 hours, that’s still the same amount of playtime. The difference is they will enjoy their experience with the shorter game and go away satisfied, whereas they’ll end up frustrated by the longer one.

    Most players already don’t finish the games they start, and that’s a well known fact at this point. Most games only have a completion rate of somewhere between 30-50% of the players that start them, with some even in the 10-20% range. This probably indicates, amongst other things, that modern games are too long. Shorter games that might only take a few hours to complete for a service like Netflix might be just what the doctor ordered.

  • It will get flooded with ‘games-as-service’ type experiences and then tank hard. Especially with Mike Verdu at the helm. Watch out Netflix.

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