Since Netflix launched its first-ever mobile games and acquired developer Night School Studio last year, the leading streaming service has been steadily expanding its games catalog, which now features more than a dozen titles. Its two most recent additions include idle dungeon crawler, Dungeon Dwarves, from Hyper Hippo, and rhythm runner, Hextech Mayhem, from Riot Games. The latter is notable because it’s a mobile exclusive on Netflix’s platform and it’s a spinoff of one of the most popular games/esports in the world: League of Legends (LoL).
Hextech Mayhem, which is produced by Riot Forge (a division focused on creating new experiences in the LoL universe), is arguably Netflix’s biggest game to date and signals an intent by the streaming behemoth to cater to more serious gamers. Unlike many of the free-to-play games on Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store, Netflix has promised that its games will be free of ads and microtransactions. Rather, they’re being incorporated into the cost of a Netflix subscription and are seen as a value add for Netflix’s subscriber base – which is something that may help to justify the recent price hike for some consumers.
Netflix’s journey into games is only just beginning, but the company knows that it has an audience that is passionate about gaming IP. The Witcher, Castlevania, and LoL-based Arcane are some of the top performing shows on the service. In fact, Arcane quickly gained the top position in 52 countries when it was released last year, demonstrating the brand strength and appeal of the LoL IP.
For LoL fans, this affinity is a two-way street. The exclusive deal to bring Hextech Mayhem to Netflix is a smart move, since according to Interpret’s VideoWatch, Netflix commands the most subscriptions in the US among LoL fans, closely followed by Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. Moreover, LoL fans are generally more engaged with streaming video content than the gaming population overall.
It’ll be interesting to see how Hextech Mayhem is received by Netflix users, but it would not be surprising to see Netflix continue to add new LoL content – both in gaming and video. Regardless, Netflix increasingly views games as a key pillar of entertainment culture, so we can expect plenty of other gaming IP on the service in the form of games and/or shows in the future.