Subscription-based on-demand video streaming platform Netflix is reportedly planning to add games to its subscription service sometime within the next year.
The California-based company recently hired Mike Verdu, formerly of EA and Facebook’s Oculus VR gaming platform, as “vice president of game development.” Verdu previously worked on Sims, Plants vs. Zombies and some EA Star Wars titles.
Gamers will remember his work most on the critically acclaimed RTS Command & Conquer 3.
With this, it seems that Netflix is looking at developing its own video games in-house, rather than just licensing out games from other studios. This will be in line with Netflix’ content policy to gradually produce more and more in-house content to differentiate itself from competitors.
However, Kotaku notes that the company will probably launch its own games alongside other licensed titles, just as it does with its video content.
According to Bloomberg, Netflix’ current plans are to offer video games on its streaming platform within the next year, with the company not planning to charge extra for gaming content.
Netflix is currently looking for team members to join its dev operations headed by Verdu. The company has already started advertising for game development related jobs on its website.
Video games will give the company another way to lure new potential customers and also offer something none of its direct competitors currently provide. Disney and Amazon can stream live sport, but they don’t have access to video games.
The move will also make it easier for Netflix to continue justifying price increases in the coming years. Games can also be used to market existing shows – a Stranger Things RPG anyone?
Netflix shares gained as much as 3.3% to $566 in late trading after the news broke.
Inspiration from Xbox Game Pass
Netflix is no doubt taking inspiration from Microsoft’s highly successful Xbox Game Pass subscription service – a service that gives subscribers access to Xbox’ entire gaming catalogue for a monthly fee.
However, it is important to note that Xbox’ success with Game Pass has been a surprise for the market. Amazon and Google have both previously tried something similar to the service and both failed at reaching Microsoft’s current success.
The difference may be that Xbox Game Pass works on Xbox consoles and on PCs – two of five (excluding PlayStation, Nintendo and mobile gaming) most popular ways to play video games currently. No Stadia-like game streaming is needed, though it is offered through xCloud.
Netflix will either have to produce a console, use an existing system, or risk facing the failure of online video game streaming. That is unless, of course, Netflix is the company to perfect this method.