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Netflix to Launch ‘Exploding Kittens’ Game, Animated Series in ‘First-of-its-Kind’ Deal

Matt Tamanini

Over the past year, Netflix has been increasingly investing in video games, both as a source for original programming as well as by creating their own games. On Monday, the streaming giant finally married the two as it was announced that the service would be launching both a mobile game and an animated series based on the popular Exploding Kittens card game. This marks the first time that Netflix will be launching a mobile game and a TV series from the same franchise.

“The co-development of a game and animated series breaks new ground for Netflix,” Netflix’s Head of Adult Animation Mike Moon said. “And we couldn’t think of a better game to build a universe around than Exploding Kittens, one of the most inventive, iconic and original games of this century! Netflix is the perfect place to explore this growing franchise and we are so fortunate to be working with this incredible team!”

The game is scheduled to launch on the streamer in May while the adult-animated comedy is set to premiere in 2023. The series will focus on the eternal conflict between Heaven and Hell as it reaches epic proportions when both God and the Devil are sent to Earth — in the bodies of chunky house cats. The series will feature the voice talents of Lucy Liu, Tom Ellis, Abraham Lim, Ally Maki, Mark Proksch, and Sasheer Zamata.

The series comes from showrunners Shane Kosakowski and Matthew Inman, the latter of which co-created the franchise along with Elan Lee, who will serve as an executive producer. Legendary animated television creator Mike Judge (“Beavis and Butt-Head,” “King of the Hill”) will also EP the show.

“Netflix is the only service that could bring Exploding Kittens to life in both a series and a game,” Inman said. “We actually launched Exploding Kittens on Kickstarter as a weekend project, but our community has been the heart and soul of the company over the past six years. The new series and game will give our fans new ways to connect and interact with the franchise.”

On the gaming side of the deal, this mobile version will retain the same style of gameplay as the original game in which players draw cards hoping to avoid the Exploding Kitten, while also introducing new cards to enhance the playing experience. Netflix also plans on updating the game as the series rolls out so that the two Exploding Kitten properties can complement each other in interconnected ways.

The game will have both single and multiplayer options and will be available to all Netflix subscribers for no additional fees or in-app purchases.

“Our goal is to offer our members great entertainment they’ll love in whatever format they may enjoy - whether it be a game or an animated series,” said Leanne Loombe, Head of External Games at Netflix. “As we expand our mobile games catalog, we’re excited to partner with the Exploding Kittens digital team to bring this enjoyable game to all age groups, including a few exciting updates exclusively for our members.”

Since launching its gaming vertical, Netflix has rolled out more than a dozen titles ranging from casual puzzle and card games to scrolling arcade-style titles with more announced and in the works. While the service remains the leader in streaming, it is reaching saturation in the U.S. and is looking for ways to bring in as many customers as possible, and video games is one area in which the company believes that it can make inroads.

In recent years, the gaming industry has grown into a bigger market than movies and U.S. sports combined. According to the Motion Picture Association, the global market for video games was estimated to be worth nearly $178 billion in 2020 and is predicted to increase to $200 billion in 2023.

So, being able to make games off of their own IP, being able to make content off of existing games, and — in the case of Exploding Kittens — being able to make both games and content off of established IP provides Netflix a myriad of ways to engage customers of all ages.

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