On September 26, we received the announcement through a press release on the Netflix website that the production company leapt to the world of video games by establishing a studio in Helsinki, with Marko Lastikka at the helm. While many received the news with surprise, throughout 2022, Netflix announced the acquisition of various studios, so its gaming adventure was no longer a secret.
Next Games, Night School Studio and Boss Fight Entertainment are the developers that Netflix bought throughout the year. Through an analysis of these developers and their previous work, we can understand what path Netflix intends to follow in the gaming industry.
Available for phones
The catalogue of games offered by Netflix from its platform is currently limited to Android phones and tablets. And no wonder. The development of this type of game has a ridiculous cost if we compare it with the games catalogued as triple-A.
While the developers acquired by Netflix could develop video games for consoles and pc as they have already shown with Next Games with Survival Instinct and No Man’s Land, Night School Studio with OXENFREE 2. Specializing in mobile games is the most efficient path for Netflix.
The big N already stated that at the moment, its idea was to increase the catalogue of video games available to its users. By the end of 2022, it aims to have more than 50 titles available at no cost other than Netflix’s monthly subscription.
Exclusivity and other role models
PlayStation Network, Steam, Ubisoft Content or Xbox would be some of the business models that Netflix could be trying to imitate as they are distributors that offer a vast and exclusive catalogue. And perhaps, exclusivity could reside in the success of Netflix Games.
One of the strategies that big developers have followed when launching their labels has been to give exclusivity to a specific platform. Undoubtedly, the most paradigmatic case of this business model would be Nintendo. Nintendo produces exclusive games for its consoles; if you don’t have a Switch forget about playing Zelda. Another unique case is Ubisoft.
While they used to distribute their games through stores like Steam, now they are restricting the distribution of their releases, so if you want a game produced by Ubisoft (FarCry, Assasin’s Creed, Anno 1800), you have to download it through Ubisoft Content.
From the screen to the play
Netflix, the owner of the rights to excellent television content, would be thinking of turning its successful content into a video game. Today, if we enter its video game platform, we can download the Stranger Things video game. Although the possibility of creating adaptations of its most successful series, The Witcher, Squid Game, we must not assume that success is guaranteed.
If something characterizes the gaming public, it is its demand. Streamers can test video games and evaluate them in their development phases (beta) before a launch, so potential consumers know the product very well before buying it. For this reason, the priority of Netflix Games should be to create a video game milestone or purchase the exclusivity of a consecrated video game for its new platform. This way, it will attract subscribers and will give its new platform prestige, which at the moment, it does not have, and that is essential if it wants to succeed in this sector.
Brand Entertainment IS the next move and we all know it
Having Netflix jumping into the video game world reassures the rest of us, whether we are in the entertainment or not, that the future of gaming is no longer set for only some of us, but for all. The gaming industry continues to grow, expand and reach new audiences that weren´t perhaps, into it. What does this mean? As we explained a few months ago in the interview with Patrick Juarez, In-Game Marketing: Your new strategy at Samy Alliance, the idea of Netflix jumping into the gaming world reassures the need to move towards entertainment. The entertainment models can vary from films, documentaries, and tv shows to video games. But, entering the video game industry and intervening beyond the product placement through other much more relevant forms to be part of the story creates a natural bond between the gamer and your brand experience.