All We Know About Netflix Adding Video Games

All We Know About Netflix Adding Video Games

In an exciting turn of events for gamers everywhere, Netflix has announced it will be adding games to its streaming platform’s offerings. In addition to the wide variety of movies, television shows, and animated series, games will be added to the Netflix roster as early as next year.

Games Will Be A New Category
netflix tv and controller
Netflix is trying to maintain a competitive edge in the growing streaming market, which is quickly becoming oversaturated with options. But Netflix intends to add video games as a new category on the existing platform, which currently has over 200 million active subscribers and around 700 million active users worldwide.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch Was An Inspiration

Video game options will appear alongside the other categories. Players will not have to navigate to a different app or site. Everything will be accessible through the Netflix app or website, and Netflix subscribers won’t have to pay any extra fees to access the video game content, either. But some have speculated that Netflix may use this new branch of content to help justify a price hike to subscribers in the future.

Story Highlights

  • Netflix plans to add video games to its streaming service. Here is everything that is currently known about this project.

  • While there will be challenges for any streaming service that adds video games to its site, the possibilities are endless. Since Netflix hired Mike Verdu as their Vice President of Game Development, the streaming giant’s commitment to gaming is clear. Or is it? Here’s what is known so far about Netflix adding video games, which could rival services like Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now.

According to the Netflix website, the success of the interactive storytelling experience of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch inspired the company to broaden its platform’s potential for more interactive experiences. On the job posting for the Director of Product Innovation, Interactive, Netflix states that its goal with gaming and interactive content is “to create new types of stories and new product experiences that enhance & deepen member engagement.”

In the interactive Black Mirror experience, players could choose their own adventure by making choices via their remote control’s buttons. In the story, players would ultimately decide the fate of a computer programmer (played by Fionn Whitehead) who is himself creating a video game. There are five different possible endings, ranging from positive to downright depressing. The story itself was very meta, non-linear, and often surreal. And fans of Bandersnatch could take things one step further with Nohzedyve, the retro game inspired by the experience.

The Initial Games Will Likely Be Story-Focused
Fear Street Trilogy Netflix RL Stine
Netflix’s commitment to solid storytelling extends to this gaming content initiative as well. Some have speculated that given the descriptions under Netflix’s interactive job listings, the gaming content they’ll be making won’t be geared toward the hardcore FPS or RPG gaming fan. At least, not at first. It’s been speculated that the first games on Netflix will be more like interactive stories than traditional video games. Netflix’s focus appears to be on creating “game-like experiences,” not video games per se. So League of Legends and Apex Legends fans may be disappointed to learn that Netflix won’t likely be offering competitive games or online multiplayer fare on their platform anytime soon.

Netflix Originals May Become Games
Stranger Things Eleven
It’s exciting to think about Netflix licensing its own vast library of original content for video game adaptation. In a sense, that’s exactly what they did with Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, transforming the iconic Black Mirror franchise into an immersive, “gamified” experience for Netflix subscribers. So what does this mean for other Netflix properties? Well, since 2017, 85% of all new Netflix spending has been for Originals content. Clearly, Netflix has leaned heavily into its own content production. It is likely the company will leverage that for future gaming content. Hit shows like Stranger Things, The Umbrella Academy, and Ozark, for example, could see game adaptations on the platform.

This isn’t the first time Netflix has licensed its original content for video game adaptation, either. They’ve already explored this avenue with a mobile game for Stranger Things and crossover content with Dead By Daylight. But it’s likely the streaming giant sees an even greater potential for their original content. Netflix Might Offer Downloadable Video Games

Regardless of Netflix’s intentions, the streaming giant does not currently have the in-house bandwidth to start producing video games, let alone AAA titles like The Witcher franchise. So if Netflix does start developing high-concept game titles, it will likely be outsourcing that work and publishing the finished products on its platform.

Netflix May Outsource Game Development
Ciri in The Netflix adaptation of The Witcher
In an interview, Matthew Ball, Managing Partner of EpyllionCo and former Global Head of Strategy for Amazon Studios, said that Netflix sees its game development as a long-term investment and will likely outsource their game development. Console manufacturers are trying to make cloud-based gaming mainstream. But today, many PC and console games still require players to download the game content and don’t offer a cloud gaming option. This is primarily due to the large file sizes of games, varying internet speeds, and other technical challenges.