Like many other companies in recent years, Netflix jumped into the gaming bandwagon by launching their Netflix Games platform, a mobile service only available for smartphones and tablets. While the reception of this new platform has been lukewarm at best, things could rapidly change soon.
According to recent reports, Netflix would like a gaming cloud service for TVs, consoles, and PCs. But are these rumours true? And if that is so, what does it mean for the future of gaming? Keep reading to know more.
From Movies To Gaming
In 2021, Netflix announced the creation of Netflix Games, a new game studio and platform offering mobile games to those with a Netflix account.
The first games of this platform were interactive movies based on series like Black Mirror. While the quality wasn’t all that bad, it did remind us a lot of the usual movie-based games of the 2000s, but with a bit of Netflix flavour.
After these titles were launched, Netflix acquired small studios like Boss Fight Entertainment and Next Games. Thanks to these acquisitions, the number of games rose to 50 and started featuring more prominent titles like TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge and Dead Cells. They also now feature some small card games like Card Blast, but we have to admit that they still don’t hold a candle to 10Bet (https://www.10bet.co.za) poker and blackjack titles.
In 2023, Netflix began an open beta for cloud gaming in the USA and Canada. But so far, only two games are available, and there is no mention of when the beta will end.
In a recent interview, Leanne Lombe, vice president of external games on Netflix, declared that games were a crucial part of the company’s future. She also stated that video games are one of the greatest forms of entertainment, so it is natural to add them to Netflix.
However, if you’re expecting something like Baldur’s Gate 3 from Netflix, you should hold on for a bit. According to Lombe, the company is focused on building a diverse catalogue and not making big AAA titles.
Crawl, Walk And Run
For many, it might seem weird that Netflix is going slow with games, but sound logic is behind it. We just have to look at the recent history of other companies like Nvidia, Google, and Amazon.
Google And The Fall of Stadia
After a short lifespan of four years, Stadia, one of the first cloud gaming services ever created, was shut down by Google at the beginning of 2023. Although the platform had strong franchises like Assassin’s Creed and Cyberpunk 2077, it wasn’t enough to attract the desired number of users.
With the end of Stadia, many exclusive games of the platform, like Outsiders, became lost media, leaving the few fans of the platform heartbroken. At the same time, others became more sceptical about the dangers of pure cloud-gaming platforms.
New World, Slow Success
Amazon has tested its luck on the gaming market for years before Netflix and Google. They were the first to launch a game studio back in 2012 and produce many games over the years. However, their first true success would occur in 2021.
New World, an MMORPG that combines survival and fantasy with the pre-Columbian era, became one of Amazon’s first successes as a game developer. They also recently announced that they would be working as publisher of Blue Protocol, an anime-styled game developed by Bandai Namco, and a new Tomb Raider game.
Amazon also revealed they are working on a new Lord of the Rings MMORPG, so the future is bright for their game division.
What Will Happen To Netflix?
The last few years haven’t been nice to Netflix, with millions of users leaving and a huge controversy over password sharing. To make matters worse, many big companies like Disney and Warner have removed their content to show it on their platforms.
Since Netflix Games is already included in the regular subscription, these new titles could become the hook the streaming company needs to compete with other platforms like Disney+, Max, and Amazon Video.
It seems that Netflix is taking Amazon’s example and playing the long game by building a decent game catalogue for their platform. They’ve also recently announced the launch of Grand Theft Auto Trilogy and Hades to Netflix Games, so we will likely see new titles from other developers pretty soon.
Now, Netflix hasn’t revealed yet when they will port all the games to PCs or TVs or open their game service to the rest of the world. We will have to wait and see if the streaming company succeeds in the gaming sector or becomes another bitter memory like Google Stadia.