Netflix: Streamer’s expansion into gaming is ‘natural extension’


Netflix: Streamer’s expansion into gaming is a ‘natural extension


When you hear “Netflix,” images of iconic TV shows and movies likely dance before your eyes – perhaps “Squid Game,” “Bridgerton,” or “Stranger Things.” But soon, Netflix hopes that video games will also be prominent on that mental list. The streaming giant strategically embraces gaming as a crucial element of its future appeal to audiences, slowly introducing more gaming experiences to its subscribers.

Leanne Loombe, Netflix’s Vice President of External Games, states that games are a natural extension of the subscription, especially considering their massive popularity as entertainment. With the boundaries between entertainment modes blurred, Netflix aims to cater to various preferences by offering diverse gaming experiences alongside its content.

Although games have been accessible on the Netflix app since November 2021, the company has chosen a low-key approach, taking time to understand the gaming landscape before a full-scale launch. Currently, the offering includes mobile games tied to popular Netflix franchises like “Stranger Things” and independent titles such as “Reigns: Three Kingdoms.” While these games are primarily available on mobile devices, tests are ongoing to explore their viability on larger screens like TVs and computers.

Netflix’s cautious approach aligns with the pitfalls experienced by legacy media brands entering the gaming realm. The industry is littered with failed attempts, with companies often misunderstanding the unique appeal of games as entertainment. Amazon’s foray into gaming and Google’s discontinuation of the Stadia console indicate major players’ challenges in this space.

Choosing to start with mobile games seems to be a strategic move. It allows Netflix to grasp the gaming landscape and the preferences of gamers. This approach reflects a dedication to working with the gaming community rather than attempting to compete against it. According to games journalist Shay Thompson, Netflix’s focus on understanding gamers’ desires and offering unique experiences will be critical to its success.

Looking ahead, Netflix plans to leverage its intellectual property further, intertwining shows, movies, and games within its universes. One notable example is Ripstone Studios, a game development team partnering with Netflix to create games based on popular series like “The Queen’s Gambit.” This collaboration is seen as a way to provide additional content to Netflix’s expansive audience, introduce gaming to new players, and broaden the medium’s appeal.

In a competitive market, the collaboration between Ripstone and Netflix showcases a mature approach to blending different forms of entertainment. By focusing on accessibility and gradually expanding gaming offerings, Netflix aims to navigate the complex gaming landscape successfully. The streaming giant’s journey into gaming is still in its early stages. Leanne Loombe emphasizes that the company seeks to ensure it approaches gaming correctly, building bridges between its entertainment domains and the gaming world.

In summary, Netflix’s gaming venture signifies an interactive entertainment evolution. With a cautious yet innovative approach, Netflix hopes to engage current and new subscribers in a way that complements their viewing preferences and gaming interests. As Netflix continues to expand its gaming offerings, the future may see the fusion of shows, movies, and games, creating a truly immersive and multifaceted entertainment experience.

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