As streaming giant Netflix continues to contend with a slowdown in subscriber growth amid fierce competition from the likes of Disney+ and others, it’s not only looking to launch a more affordably priced ad-based tier by the end of this year, but the company has also devoted a good chunk of its resources to building up its gaming business. By offering a catalog of games completely free to its subscriber base, Netflix is increasing the value proposition of its monthly fee and may be able to retain more users (or entice new ones to its platform).
During a recent Geeked Week event, Netflix not only teased numerous shows based on gaming IP – including Cuphead season 2, DOTA: Dragon’s Blood season three, Dragon Age: Absolution, Tekken: Bloodline, Sonic Prime, and Castlevania: Nocturne – but the company outlined its plan to release almost 50 games before the end of the year, effectively doubling its current lineup. Netflix intends to leverage its own IP with games based on series like La Casa de Papel (Money Heist), The Queen’s Gambit, Shadow and Bone, and more.
As Netflix builds out its game portfolio, it’s also leaning into external talent and well-known indie successes. For example, Lucky Luna will be a platformer based on Japanese folklore from Alto’s Odyssey creator Snowman, while Desta: The Memories Between is a new project from Monument Valley developer Ustwo. Netflix has also signed Reigns: Three Kingdoms, Poinpy, Spiritfarer, and Raji: An Ancient Epic, some of which are already available on other platforms.
Exclusivity is important – Riot Games’ Hextech Mayhem debuted exclusively on Netflix earlier this year – but having a breadth of solid choices for subscribers to play is equally important for Netflix at this early stage in its gaming business plans. Executives at the streaming firm also wholeheartedly believe in gaming as a business in its own right, not just something to offset streaming video churn. “We think that we can build a big revenue and profit stream by adding games,” co-CEO Theodore Sarandos told investors back in April.
While it’s still quite early in Netflix’s gaming journey, Sensor Tower reports that Netflix’s mobile titles have been downloaded 13 million times so far, with the most popular title being Stranger Things: 1984, based on the platform’s incredibly popular D&D-inspired thriller. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, Netflix subscribers have been showing slightly more interest in mobile gaming over the last year, with more than 56% of US subscribers reporting playing games on mobile. While that is ahead of the general population that plays mobile games (53%), as Interpret has noted previously, it’s still lower than those who play mobile games among subscribers to other services like Hulu or Apple TV+.
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