Netflix’s subscriber growth has seen a bit of stagnation through the first quarter of the year and to get out of the proverbial rut, the streaming giant could turn to video games as its new cash cow.
According to a new report from The Information, Netflix has apparently spoken to a number of executives in the gaming industry in a bid to find someone appropriate to lead its gaming division.
The report doesn’t really shed light on whether Netflix hopes to build an in-house studio that works on exclusives or plans on creating a platform that hosts games. We also don’t know if Netflix’ plan here is to create a platform like Steam which offers downloadable games or follow the Cloud gaming hype-train and rub shoulders with the likes of Google Stadia and Amazon Luna.
From a monetization point-of-view it is likely that we’ll see Netflix offer a subscription service that offers game bundles similar to Xbox Game Pass. Since all of this is still at its nascent stage, there’s definitely no hint at pricing just yet, but the report does state that Netflix isn’t looking at advertisements as a source of income, which is good news for gamers.
Speaking to Polygon, a Netflix spokesperson clarified, “Our members value the variety and quality of our content. It’s why we’ve continually expanded our offering — from series to documentaries, film, local language originals and reality TV. Members also enjoy engaging more directly with stories they love — through interactive shows like Bandersnatch and You v. Wild, or games based on Stranger Things, La Casa de Papel and To All the Boys. So we’re excited to do more with interactive entertainment.”
Is all of this surprising? Not really. In 2019, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was quoted as saying, “We compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO”, suggesting that there could be a possible push towards gaming. Although that statement was merely seen as an analogy at the time and nothing more.