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Netflix Officials View Gaming As ‘Another New Content Category’; Turning Focus Toward Mobile Games

Michael King

Netflix company officials said they were expanding further into the gaming space by building on their earlier efforts with interactivity as shown by their release of Black Mirror Bandersnatch, and Stranger Things games.

“We view gaming as another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original films, animation, and unscripted TV,” the company said in its 2021 2Q shareholder letter released late Tuesday afternoon.

The company says it will initially turn its primary focus toward games for mobile devices.

In conjunction with that direction, Netflix has hired former Facebook executive Mike Verdu as Vice President of game development to help direct their focus toward the goal of becoming a popular source for games going forward.

While other companies have made efforts to provide video game streaming services, none have proven to be truly successful as of yet.

Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass comes closest, allowing subscribers to play games across devices with a subscription to a single platform. Google’s Stadia, while definitely a look into the obvious future of games-as-a-service, has largely failed to take off and is widely predicted to end up in the graveyard of Google products that were announced with much fanfare but ultimately quietly abandoned.

Both platforms tout themselves as being able to provide rich, AAA gaming experiences without hardware restrictions, but are completely at the mercy of a user’s access to reliable, high-speed internet, and infrastructure that large parts of the country still sorely lack.

Netflix has an advantage in that its platform is already widely used by millions of people who exist completely outside the traditional or hardcore gamer landscape. If Netflix takes a Nintendo Wii-like approach to introduce its users to simple, easy-to-understand, casual games that don’t require lightning-fast connection speeds, it just might rise above the fray — and it might do it with ad-free casual gaming.

“We don’t have to think about ads, in-game purchases, or other monetization,” said Greg Peters, CPO and COO of Netflix. “We can be laser-focused on delivering the most entertaining game experiences that we can.”

When one considers the popularity of these kinds of games in the mobile world and the fact that so many people already have the Netflix app installed on their phones and tablets, the possibilities of what the company is capable of begin to unfold.

“We think mobile is a great platform for games,” Peters said. “The vast majority of our members have phones that are capable of great gameplay experiences. We see all of the devices we currently serve as candidates for some kind of game experience.”

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