At this point, the question isn’t if Netflix recognizes the potential of video games, but how far it’s willing to invest in them — and it looks like the studio might be investing a lot in a pretty major way. According to reports, Netflix is looking to hire an executive to oversee the streaming service expansion into game development. Whether that means Netflix is creating its own studio, offering a platform for third-party titles, or packaging streaming bundles (similar to Xbox’s Game Pass or Apple Arcade) is yet to be determined.
What is clear though, is that Netflix has always seen games as a major money-maker. The streaming service has seemingly gone all in on game-based television series and movies after seeing massive success with shows such as The Witcher and Castlevania. As of right now, at least six new, original series — all based on popular games like Assassin’s Creed and Cyberpunk 2077 — are in the works over at Netflix.
Another thing we know is Netflix has historically seen game developers as competition. Back in 2019, Netflix told its investors the studio “compete[s] with (and lose[s] to) ‘Fortnite’ more than HBO.” While Netflix later expressed little interest in being a part of the game industry, a lot has changed since 2019. While many industries took massive hits in 2020 due to COVID-19, the games industry raked in more than sports and movies combined. However, this does not mean games are a surefire, stress-free money-grab. Netflix wouldn’t be the first big name to venture into game development, and wouldn’t be the first to lose big if things should fail.
While we still aren’t fully clued in on what is happening over at Netflix, let’s just cross our fingers and hope it’s not another battle royale or console.
UPDATE: A Netflix spokesperson passed along the following statement after publication of this post.
“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.”