Netflix is a name that needs no introduction. The streaming giant is massively famous for its catalogue of TV shows and movies, but with the addition of Netflix Games in 2021, users have been able to experience games that feature no ads or in-app purchases.
This past Monday, the platform released its latest title, Netflix Stories: Love is Blind. Netflix is utilising the power of its already widely popular IPs and intends to grow this further with more stories based on the platform's series.
We caught up with the VP of game studios at Netflix, Amir Rahimi, who shares insight into the platform's potential and its future expansion of games as part of the service. We also discuss the power of IP and Netflix’s latest game release.
Pocketgamer.biz: Netflix has become a household name for its movies and shows. How do you see the continued support of video games on the platform impacting the games industry?
Amir Rahimi: Our goal is to have a game on Netflix for every one of our members. One of our biggest opportunities for making games within Netflix is to be able to expand the worlds of our films and series that our members love.
Netflix Stories: Love is Blind is the first entry in what will be an ever-growing catalogue of interactive fiction based on hit Netflix series and films, and we’re launching the game right alongside the new Season Five of the series.
Creating games without ads or in-app purchases is one of the most freeing aspects of making games at NetflixAmir Rahimi
Next, we’ll add stories for Money Heist and Virgin River, with more coming next year. The possibilities are endless. Additionally, all of our games are available as part of your Netflix membership and don’t have ads or in-app purchases, so we think this can be revolutionary for the interactive fiction genre, as many games in this genre often leave the most exciting choices to make behind a paywall - but in Netflix Stories, choices are really up to the player.
Netflix already has some incredible IPs, so expanding on these with video games makes sense! Can you tell us a little about the release of Netflix Stories: Love is Blind?
Netflix Stories: Love is Blind puts players in the pods and lets them journey through the experiment of the hit series as if they were one of the singles. You’ll create and customise your character, go on pod dates, and follow the same series arc, including the tropical vacation and maybe even a wedding. The story is told over a series of episodes that will release in batches over the coming weeks - just like the series.
Many of these interactive narrative games often come with options of paying to chat with certain characters or do certain actions. How will Love is Blind differ since it has no microtransactions?
Creating games without ads or in-app purchases is one of the most freeing aspects of making games at Netflix, and we hear the same from our external developer partners - because it removes the pressures of monetisation and lets us focus on making the best game possible.
The interactive fiction genre works especially well, as we’ve seen with Too Hot to Handle: Love is a Game and its sequel, Too Hot to Handle 2, because it really empowers the players to make the choices they want without having to make any sacrifices.
How long has the game been in development?
This was one of our earliest ideas upon seeing how well interactive fiction, like our Too Hot to Handle games and Scriptic, have been performing on Netflix, and the concept is for Netflix Stories to be an ever-growing anthology app of stories, so development is ongoing. The possibilities are endless - think of all your favourite Netflix series and films and imagine being able to step into those worlds and make your own choices.
Were there any challenges when creating the game, such as how to best handle the IP?
This is a natural extension of our business, and we see such an exciting, unique opportunity to expand the worlds of our beloved IPAmir Rahimi
Being all under one roof provides an incredible opportunity for the games team at Netflix to adapt series and films and vice versa. It's been a very collaborative process, and allows us to create experiences that are meaningful and authentic for our members.
Finally, can you tell us anything about the game or what to expect from the future of Netflix Games?
We’re still in our early days of making games at Netflix, and we’re continuing to lean into what we think our members will love: games as an added value to their memberships with no ads or in-app purchases.
This is a natural extension of our business, and we see such an exciting, unique opportunity to expand the worlds of our beloved IP, so that’s a big part of where we’re headed, in addition to creating our own IP. Ultimately, we want to have something for everyone, and that means lots of variety, so continue to expect games of all genres from both our internal studios and our external developer partners.