Netflix began by delivering DVDs to customers via mail. Then it started streaming other people’s movies and TV shows. Then it began producing its own films and television shows. Video games are up next.
Netflix may be entering the video game market, according to reports, after hiring Mike Verdu, an ex-EA and Facebook executive, as its VP of game development. Today, the company confirmed the rumors and provided additional information.
Netflix divulged the nitty gritty details of its financial margins, quarterly sales, and watching data for its blockbuster TV shows and movies in a letter to its shareholders. If you’re curious about the specifics, you can read the 12-page PDF here.
The confirmation of Netflix’s foray into game creation is a particularly interesting tidbit tucked away in the letter. The following is an excerpt from the document:
We’re also in the early stages of further expanding into games, building on our earlier efforts around interactivity (eg, Black Mirror Bandersnatch) and our Stranger Things games. We view gaming as another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original films, animation and unscripted TV. Games will be included in members’ Netflix subscription at no additional cost similar to films and series. Initially, we’ll be primarily focused on games for mobile devices. We’re excited as ever about our movies and TV series offering and we expect a long runway of increasing investment and growth across all of our existing content categories, but since we are nearly a decade into our push into original programming, we think the time is right to learn more about how our members value games.
For those unfamiliar, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a TV episode in the form of a choose-your-own-adventure game in which your decisions influence the result. Stranger Things: The Game, on the other hand, is a top-down RPG adventure for mobile devices that is designed in a retro format evocative of portable console games from the past.
While this could indicate some of the forms Netflix is considering, it’s worth noting that the company claims it will initially focus on “games for mobile devices.” Although this revelation may come as a disappointment to some, it’s probable that these ideas may change and expand based on the success of the original effort.
It’s also comforting to know that the games will be linked to your Netflix account, so you won’t have to pay anything more for them. However, given its last Android game was a free product that did not require a Netflix subscription, it is unclear how this content will be distributed.
Although Netflix just extended its TV partnership with Shonda Rhimes to include feature films and gaming content, there are still no information on what types of games would be offered. There’s also no news on how Netflix subscribers will get their games.
The company hasn’t said when future mobile games will be released, but a previous rumor suggested 2022. In the coming weeks, we’ll most likely learn more.