Posted on Wednesday, July 14th, 2021 by
Despite big gains made by Disney+ and a dozen other new competitors, Netflix is still the biggest streaming fish in the pond and they aim to keep it that way. The plan to continue their dominance? Video games, of course.
has the story that Netflix has hired Mike Verdu to be their Vice President of Game Development. Verdu’s background includes time at EA and Facebook where he worked with developers as they made content for the Oculus.
His role is expected to be similar for Netflix as the company plans to offer games alongside their regular offerings of movies, comedy specials, series, etc. And the best part right now is that they’re not planning on charging extra for it.
Playing Games … On Netflix?!?
One burning question remains: how the hell do you play games on Netflix? Will this be an interactive deal like when they made those Choose Your Own Adventure-style episodes of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Black Mirror or, like, Real Deal Video Games™?
Details are scarce, but it sounds like they do want to offer Real Deal Video Games™. Interactive shows may be in the cards as well, but the Bloomberg piece is pretty adamant that Netflix is staffing up to develop actual video games.
In the past, they’ve licensed out the rights to some of their IP like Stranger Things which has had mobile and retro-style video game tie-ins. Keeping those in-house is a smart business move and allows them to fully double down on their popular titles in a way that promotes engagement in both the game and the show.
But How Would You Play?
If they’re going to make these games available on the existing platform, how will people play it? Speaking personally, my Netflix is loaded on two devices: my Xbox and my laptop. I rarely watch anything substantial on my laptop, that’s mostly used when I travel (you know, back in the before-times). But both are essentially already enabled with the controls you need.
If they can somehow utilize console controllers or traditional mouse and keyboards then I guess they already have the basics covered.
I’m no tech whiz so I don’t know if that’s even possible beyond a simple left, right, up, down, and “enter” capacity that it already uses, but clearly they wouldn’t be hiring the folks they’re hiring if all they wanted to do was to keep making interactive Black Mirror episodes.
Right now the only other streaming service that offers anything close to this is Apple+ which you can bundle with Apple Arcade. You’re not going to be playing the latest Call of Duty, but there are hundreds of games available there.
It’s a curious time for these streaming giants. The market is becoming saturated, every studio has its own streaming service now, and it’s going to become crucial for the top dogs to innovate and forge into new territories. Will the video game angle work out? I guess we’ll see and we won’t have long to wait, either. Netflix plans on rolling this out by the end of the year.
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