Netflix Ventures into Gaming: The Impact and What to Expect

In a bold move to stay relevant and engage with its audience, streaming giant Netflix has announced its plans to expand into the world of gaming. Leanne Loom, the vice president of external games at Netflix, believes that games are one of the biggest forms of entertainment today and sees it as a natural extension of the streaming service. This strategic move could have a significant impact on both the gaming and streaming industries.

Netflix has been slowly ramping up its gaming offering since November 2021, with mobile games being the first focus. Currently, these games are only available on mobile devices, but tests are underway to explore their compatibility with TVs and computers. By starting with mobile games, Netflix is taking a cautious approach, learning from the mistakes of other legacy media brands that have struggled to break into the gaming world.

The partnership between Netflix and Ripstone Studios, a renowned chess game developer, highlights the collaborative nature of this expansion. Ripstone is working on a chess simulator based on the hit Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit. This collaboration not only aims to offer more content to Netflix customers but also hopes to introduce gaming to a wider audience. With Netflix’s massive user base of 238 million people, many of whom may have never played a game before, this venture could increase the popularity and accessibility of gaming.

While the decision to focus on mobile games reduces financial risk for Netflix, it also comes with its challenges. Mobile games are cheaper to develop compared to big console releases, but they need to impress players to retain their attention in a highly competitive market. If players feel that the games lack ambition or scope, they are likely to switch to other titles quickly. Retaining an audience in the gaming industry can be challenging once they move on to other games.

Netflix’s bottom-up approach to gaming is a departure from traditional tie-ins between movies or TV shows and games. Instead of rushing to release tied-in games, Netflix aims to create a selection of titles that cater to different gaming preferences. By leveraging its intellectual property, Netflix plans to connect its shows, movies, and games, creating a cohesive entertainment experience for its subscribers.

However, Netflix will need to be cautious and prioritize giving gamers what they want, rather than what they think gamers want. Previous attempts by big media organizations, such as Amazon Games, have failed because they lacked the creativity and uniqueness that gamers expect. Understanding the gaming landscape and appealing to gamers’ preferences will be crucial for Netflix’s success in the gaming industry.

While it is too early to assess the success of Netflix’s gaming venture, the company’s cautious and collaborative approach shows promise. By expanding into gaming, Netflix has the opportunity to redefine the streaming and gaming industries and engage with a broader audience. As Loom emphasizes, this is just the beginning of Netflix’s gaming journey, and the company aims to evolve and adapt its strategy based on the evolving gaming market.

In conclusion, Netflix’s entry into the gaming industry will have a significant impact on both the streaming and gaming sectors. It presents new opportunities for Netflix to engage with its audience and leverage its existing intellectual property. However, the company will need to tread carefully, understanding gamers’ preferences and delivering unique and compelling gaming experiences to succeed in this highly competitive space.