With the recent hiring of former Oculus and EA exec, Mike Verdu, Netflix made its intentions to claim a spot within the video gaming industry loud and clear. Just what space the company planned to occupy, however, remained somewhat vague — at least, until yesterday’s second-quarter earnings report.
According to Netflix’s letter to investors, the streaming service’s first projects will, “initially... be primarily focused on games for mobile devices,” reads the report, adding earlier that “games will be included in members’ Netflix subscription at no additional cost similar to films and series.” We assume that last bit will eventually change, but it’s a smart move for Netflix to learn from its failing predecessors as it eases itself into that particular market.
As for what kinds of mobile games to expect, well, that remains to be seen. Netflix has already toyed with interactive releases like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Carmen Sandiego along with its Stranger Things mobile games, so it’s likely similar projects are in the pipeline. Variety recently reported on Netflix’s deal extension with Shonda Rhimes that, among other things, includes “gaming and virtual reality content,” but who knows what that will look like? A Grey’s Anatomy surgery VR game? An interactive Scandal whodunit? Bridgerton fantasy play AR? Time will tell, we suppose.
Part of a larger expansion into new markets — Netflix’s video game plans aren’t entirely surprising given its need to compete with an ever-widening market of subscription entertainment options, as well as retail opportunities. Recently, the company finally got around to opening an online swag shop while also announcing Halston luxury gowns, anime-inspired streetwear, and Bridgerton loungewear. It all makes a certain amount of sense from PR and profit perspectives, even if Netflix runs the risk of biting off more than it can chew. In addition to all of the above, the streaming service is working on a podcast unit, along with this somewhat pathetic TikTok clone, Fast Laughs.
But really, all this pales in comparison to finally delivering what the people really want: that Sonic the Hedgehog CGI series Netflix accidentally let leak a few months back. Like, c’mon. We’d gladly sacrifice some kind of bleak Black Mirror AR episode that hits too close to home for that blue spicyboi. It’s your move, Netflix. Choose wisely.