What Could Games on Netflix Actually Look Like?
Now that Netflix is officially into the games market, it makes sense to wonder exactly what these games will look like. We’ve had a taste of what Netflix could offer with titles like Bandersnatch, the Stranger Things games, and You vs. Wild, but promises a bit more with this latest endeavor.
During the company’s Q2 2021 investor’s presentation, Netflix execs laid out a bit of what subscribers could expect from the platform's gaming side, specifically its focus on mobile games. “We think mobile is a great platform for games,” said Greg Peters, CPO and COO of Netflix. “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.”
Where Netflix can offer a “great gameplay experience” in the mobile gaming space is with its ad-free experience. “We don’t have to think about ads, in-game purchases, or other monetization,” Peters said. “We can be laser-focused on delivering the most entertaining game experiences that we can.” In a world where most of the games atop the various app stores are loaded with predatory advertising and in-game purchase mechanics, having a place where users can avoid these toxic business practices will likely pay off for Netflix in the long run.
We also know that the new slate of games will be based around existing Netflix IPs, so prepare for more Stranger Things games and maybe even games based around Army of the Dead. But what kinds of games can we expect? One would just have to look to their app store of choice for what to likely expect from Netflix.
Netflix is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 3,000+ movies, 2,000+ TV Shows, and Netflix Originals like Stranger Things, Squid Game, The Crown, Tiger King, and Bridgerton. They are constantly adding new shows and movies. Some of their Academy Award-winning exclusives include Roma, Marriage Story, Mank, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Netflix offers three plans — on 1 device in SD with their “Basic” ($9.99) plan, on 2 devices in HD with their “Standard” ($15.49) plan, and 4 devices in up to 4K on their “Premium” ($19.99) plan.
Netflix spends more money on content than any other streaming service meaning that you get more value for the monthly fee.
Runners, puzzle games, card games, and “idle games” (where users interact very little with the game, usually in the form of random taps or clicks) dominate the top of the market, so expect to see plenty of that. A Stranger Things matching game in the vein of Candy Crush or an Army of the Dead-themed runner, where players collect items and avoid obstacles to reach the finish line, could be a starting place. These types of games are genuinely fun — which is why they and their clones populate the tops of the various app stores — but they are laced with an overabundance of ads and ridiculous in-game purchases. Netflix versions of these games would likely bring a fresh perspective to these games, free from ads and in-game purchases, where users would focus on the fun aspects of the games.
CNET also speculated that Netflix's gaming library could eventually extend to consoles, as well. As Xbox and Playstation consoles all support Netflix, it would make sense that users could eventually play games on these consoles, though they’d likely be Bandersnatch-esque choose your own adventure-type games as to not alienate users not playing on a gaming console.
Regardless of what we see, we know Netflix is coming to bring it, as they’ve hired former Facebook executive Mike Verdu as Vice President of game development to oversee their gaming division. Verdu previously worked at Electronic Arts, the company that produces popular sports games like Madden, FIFA Soccer, and the NHL series of games, as well as titles like Mass Effect, Dead Space, and The Sims. Verdu’s knowledge of the gaming space could make for some interesting — and successful — gaming properties.