Netflix has opened a new game development studio in Finland. The team, led by a former Zynga top manager, will make original mobile titles for its subscription service.
The company made an announcement on its official website. The studio will be based in Helsinki, Finland.
“This is another step in our vision to build a world-class games studio that will bring a variety of delightful and deeply engaging original games — with no ads and no in-app purchases — to our hundreds of millions of members around the world,” Netflix VP of game studios Amir Rahimi said.
Marko Lastikka became the studio director. He is a games industry veteran, who previously was the co-founder and general manager of Electronic Arts Helsinki and Zynga Helsinki. Lastikka has a lot of experience in mobile game development, including his work on titles like SimCity BuildIt and FarmVille.
Earlier this year, Netflix acquired Finland-based mobile developer Next Games for €65 million. It has worked on titles based on TV series like The Walking Dead and Stranger Things.
So the new Helsinki team is Netflix’s second first-party studio in the country, and the first to be built from scratch.
How is the Netflix gaming expansion going?
- The company announced its plans to add mobile games to its subscription service last year. It hired former EA and Zynga exec Mike Verdu as its vice president of game development.
- Netflix officially rolled out mobile titles on its app in November 2021, urging subscribers to play games with no ads and in-app purchases.
- It has already acquired several studios, including Oxenfree developer Night School Studio, Netx Games, and Dungeon Boss creator Boss Fight Entertainment.
- The company stated that it will produce original mobile titles based on its numerous IPs and license other games. It also cited Epic Games, TikTok, and YouTube among its main competitors.
- Netflix Games’ library includes over 20 titles. As of August 2022, they had generated 23.3 million downloads. These games also have 1.7 million daily active users, which is less than 1% of the services’ subscriber base.
- Despite the relatively small numbers, Netflix has no plans to give up on its gaming initiative. It said it will invest more in this area and will expand its catalog to 50 titles by the end of this year.