Back in the day, Netflix started out by shipping DVDs to customers through the mail. Then it started streaming other creators’ movies and TV shows while also beginning to create its own movies and TV shows. Over time Netflix has become another big player in the movie industry. Next up – gaming.
On July 20th last year, Netflix officially told investors that the platform is in the “early stages of further expanding into gaming”. Back in 2018, Netflix has already introduced its first interactive form of entertainment – Bandersnatch. In 2020, the Stranger Things game has been released for mobile devices too.
image via play.google.com
Netflix has been facing fiercer and fiercer competition over the years due to other new streaming services. Thus it is not a surprise to see the platform looking for ways to expand into other markets as well. Yet there are various challenges that Netflix is going to face if it decides to commit to entering the video games market.
Through the years changing age of the audience has caused a constant stagnation and even a decrease in subscribers. People who have picked up Netflix previously now had shifted their interests into other services, whether that be other streaming ones or video social media – mostly Tiktok.
By offering games, Netflix is creating additional value that could help it compete with other services. For a long time gaming was the main rival of the platform and it seems like it has decided “if you can’t beat them, join them”. It both attracts new audiences and keeps current users within the Netflix platform, meaning less revenue is lost.
Netflix has stated that it wants to develop games that would suit any level and any kind of player. As the games will be offered using the same monthly subscription with no ads, no additional fees, and no in-app purchases, it seems like Netflix is planning to rely on the sheer size of the user base. With such a big audience, the platform can easily become a formidable competitor in the subscription gaming space. Yet there are various reasons why Netflix getting gaming is not necessarily a great idea.
image via netflix.com
Movies and TV shows belong to different kinds of entertainment than video games – passive and active. Both types have different audiences and points of appeal, meaning it is not easy to mix them. Given that we usually group activities into categories, it is hard to believe users will begin associating Netflix with active entertainment as for many years it was only passive.
An interactive episode of Black Mirror, Bandersnatch, has shown that mixing the two can lead to an in-between experience that is neither. It offers somewhat enjoyable media consumption yet still fails to be engaging. Looking at the total count of interactive titles – 14 – it seems like a good indicator that interactive TV is not the next big thing to happen.
Video games are not Netflix’s competence too. For a long time, the platform has succeeded in offering large volumes of high-quality series and movies. While it has moved into movies and series creation, it greatly differs from creating games. Both producing, maintaining, and distributing them ask for very different skills and have a fierce market that is not kind to the newcomers.
For now, it seems that gaming will not become a whole new independent source of revenue for Netflix any time soon. The platform is still focused on offering passive content for a monthly subscription and not gaming. Yet, gaming subscriptions have already proved themselves and Netflix might have a chance to take part in this market too.
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