Netflix and Game: it’s not game over yet as streaming giant moves into gaming

August 14, 2021

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2 min read

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What's going on here?

As the subscription rate begins to slow down, Netflix decides to try and amp things up again to distract investors from slowing growth by moving into the gaming world. 

What does this mean?

Undeniably, Netflix is a leading worldwide streaming giant. Gone are the days of having to wait a week to watch one episode. Netflix has allowed us to give in to the impatient side of ourselves and “binge” our favourite shows within hours. The famous ‘ta dum’ intro provides comfort to many and now, die hard fans will be able to experience successful shows through gaming. Indeed, the pandemic has added to Netflix’s elusive success, however, this year’s second quarter saw 430,000 people cancel their subscriptions in the US and Canada. 

In order to combat this, Netflix is trying to gain dominance on all forms by developing one subscription to rule them all. Netflix predict 3.5 million new customers to subscribe by the end of September 2021 due to the development of mobile gaming. This is 5.86 million fewer subscribers than analysts had estimated. However, despite this natural slowing down of subscribers after the height of the pandemic, by the end of June this year, Netflix did see a 19% increase in revenue from the year before. CEO Reed Hastings’ decision to hire a former Electronic Arts executive to run its interactive team shows us how Netflix is dipping its toes into the water to ensure success. This incremental approach, however, may run the risk of them falling behind as their competitors such as Microsoft, or Google’s Stadia go all out into what research suggests may be nearly a $220 billion market opportunity by 2024. 

What's the big picture effect?

Now, it is really about watching this whole project unfold. Piers Harding-Rolls, research director of games at Ampere Analysis, provides a more optimistic view on this new venture. It can be understood that the stakes are lower when there is no need to build a console from scratch, so even up to a 10% increase to the annual content budget of $17 billion would allow Netflix to make a solid number of mobile games. 

In an effort to hold the attention of all audiences, Netflix could continue to revolutionise the entertainment industry with an all-in-one platform if this project is successful. An analyst at Midia Research undertook a survey to prove that Netflix is already popular amongst gamers. 76% of console gamers and 69% of mobile gamers use Netflix every week which means that this project would almost guarantee engagement. It may be difficult at first to see which TV shows could transition seamlessly beyond their storylines and into gaming because other major streaming services such as Disney have tried and failed to set up a games division three times. Nevertheless, the release of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch in 2018 showcased the success that Netflix could have an interactive film, although there is a fine line between that and the development of mobile games. Either way, it is a really exciting time for one of the most innovative and successful companies as they create games that allow superfans to go beyond storylines and experience their favourite shows first-hand.

Report written by Rida Ahmed

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