Media giant Netflix is looking to add video games to its already enormous entertainment offering, even as early as within the next year. According to a report first published by Bloomberg, Netflix recently hired Mike Verdu, previously the vice president of augmented reality and virtual reality content at Facebook, to serve as VP of their game development division.
Netflix first hinted at a possible foray into the realm of video games with the release of Stranger Things: The Game, a mobile title based on the cult hit franchise in 2019. Since then, Netflix has dropped various hints about the impending expansion, including naming Fornite as its biggest competitor during a letter to shareholders and the addition of interactive films such as Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not To Steal. According to insiders, Netflix will begin building its gaming division in the coming months and has already started advertising for game-development related jobs on its website. Business intelligence analyst Geetha Ranganathan had this to say:
“This is a natural extension of its Netflix’s content strategy, allowing it to mine intellectual property from popular shows like ‘Stranger Things.’ Though it may not generate much additional revenue, it will help deepen engagement and increase the service’s appeal and pricing power. Don’t expect this to be a turning point, but it shows that the company will explore new formats to increase time spent on the platform.”
If you’re not quite sold on the idea of Netflix gaming, the good news is that the company doesn’t plan on charging extra for the additional content, though this may change closer to the actual launch of the service. We now have subscriptions for everything, from groceries to dental care, TV and movies, imported goods and even monthly murder mysteries. Thus, with the overwhelming and continued success of the subscription service model, it’s not entirely surprising that Netflix would choose to look into broadening their horizons and perhaps taking a page out of Microsoft’s book with Game Pass reaching over 18 million as of late January 2021.