“We view gaming as another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original films, animation and unscripted TV,” the company said via its Q2 earnings release. “Games will be included in members’ Netflix subscription at no additional cost similar to films and series. Initially, we’ll be primarily focused on games for mobile devices.”
The news follows speculation that the company is building out its nascent games offerings with the hire of EA and Oculus veteran Mike Verdu as the company’s new president of game development.
Gaming was already one of the biggest forms of entertainment before it exploded even further during the pandemic, as millions around the world were shuttered in their homes.
According to Accenture, the gaming industry is now valued at more than $300 billion, putting it above the combined values of the movie and music industries thanks in large part to the growth of mobile games and platforms including those available on Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and Google’s (GOOG, GOOGL) Android devices.
Reed Hastings, co-founder, chairman, and co-chief executive officer of Netflix, arrives for the annual Allen and Co. Sun Valley media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S. July 6, 2021. REUTERS/Brian Losness
Netflix, however, will face stiff competition in the form of Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, which offer free-to-play games. Apple also offers its own Apple Arcade service, which provides gamers with dozens of titles for a single monthly fee without ads for $4.99 per month.
The news also comes at a time when Nintendo’s (NTDOY) Switch is flying off of shelves, if they’re available at all, giving gamers the ability to play high-end titles on the go, and follows news that Valve will release its own handheld system later this fall called the Steam Deck.
Netflix, however, may find an advantage in not requiring users to pay for their games and being available on mobile devices.
Story continues But as stalled efforts from Amazon and its failed “Crucible” title and Google and its shuttered Stadia games studio have shown, success in the gaming industry takes more than a pile of money.
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