Netflix is reportedly looking to hire an executive to oversee the company’s expansion into videogames.
This is according to The Information, which talked to people familiar with the matter (the report is under a paywall).
The anonymous sources suggest that in recent weeks, Netflix was in talks with certain veteran game industry executives about potentially joining the company.
Netflix has previously collaborated with developer Bonus XP on a Stranger Things game, and it’s no stranger to gamifying its TV shows like it did with the interactive Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. But it looks like the company is now looking to launch a proper gaming department. According to the report, it is considering an option of offering “a bundle of games similar to Apple’s online subscription offering, Apple Arcade.” Another detail disclosed in the report is that Netflix has decided that its games will be ad-free.
The news that is still to be confirmed does not come as a complete surpise though. During the company’s earnings call back in April, Netflix COO and Chief Product Officer Greg Peters said the following: “We’re in the business of creating these amazing, deep universes and compelling characters and people come to love those universes and want to immerse themselves more deeply and get to know the characters better. We’re trying to figure out all of the different ways that we can increase those points of connection and deepen that fandom and certainly games is a really interesting component of that. Whether it’s gamifying some of the linear storytelling we’re doing like interactive with Bandersnatch and we’ll continue and we’ve actually launched games themselves as part of our licensing and merchandising effort and we’re happy with what we’ve seen. There’s no doubt that games are going to be an important form of entertainment and important modality to deepen that fan experience so we’re going to keep going.”
In fact, Netflix has been aware of the strategic importance of the video games market for quite a while. “We earn consumer screen time, both mobile and television, away from a very broad set of competitors,” the company said in January 2019. “We compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO . . . There are thousands of competitors in this highly-fragmented market vying to entertain consumers.”