Netflix reportedly want to expand into games

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Netflix have been somewhat involved in the video game scene for a little while: with game-to-TV adaptations like the Dota and Castlevania animes, and their interactive shows Bandersnatch and You Vs. Wild. But now it seems the streaming company are looking to create some sort of game subscription service, similar to Apple Arcade. Reportedly, they’ve already started looking for games industry executives to poach.

According to The Information (warning: there’s a pricey paywall), Netflix have approached a number of “veteran game industry executives” about joining the company. The report says Netflix are exploring launching an Apple Arcade-style bundle of games, with no ads. For context, Apple Arcade is basically an iOS version of subscription services like Xbox Game Pass.

A Netflix rep told Polygon that the company is “excited to do more with interactive entertainment”, as well as some marketing talk about how their users “enjoy engaging more directly with the stories they love”.

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Netflix’s most notable foray into this sort of stuff was Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, an interactive film that came out in 2018. It lets viewers (players?) make choices for the main character, ultimately leading them to one of multiple endings. I never bothered with Bandersnatch myself, but I appreciate that it got some of my family members, who aren’t really into games, asking me about games. It sparked good dinner conversation about what really constitutes a game (though that can be a dangerous subject for some).

The streaming company have also produced a bunch of TV shows based on games. You’ve got Dota, Castlevania, The Witcher (though technically that’s based on the books), and coming soon, the League Of Legends animated series Arcane.

I do wonder what Netflix would offer in their own subscription bundle. It could be cool to see them offer the games that some of their series are based on, or perhaps they’d go the other way and commission games based off of existing shows? They did that with Stranger Things, having developers BonusXP make Stranger Things 3: The Game (I honestly thought it was a bit rubbish though, so I’d hope their future offerings are a little more interesting).

They wouldn’t be the first streaming company to start up a games division. Amazon started Amazon Games Studios a few years ago, but haven’t seen much success – with delays, cancellations, and reports of dysfunction coming from their developement studios.

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