Netflix may be a relative newcomer to the games space, but the company has quickly become a juggernaut in the industry, with mobile as the entry point. In less than two years the streaming giant has amassed a catalogue of studios and companies, expanding its audience and offering its games for free to Netflix subscribers.
Now, Netflix vice president of external games Leanne Loombe has spoken to BBC News regarding the company’s expansion into the games space.
"Games are one of the biggest forms of entertainment out there today, so it really is just a natural extension for Netflix to include them as part of the subscription,” said Loombe. "The lines between the different ways we enjoy our entertainment are blurring. When you're in that moment, looking to sit and watch a movie or be more active and play a game, we want to make sure we have something for you.”
Loombe also discussed the company’s strategy when it comes to game development and acquisition. Whereas some game makers, especially those early in their lifespans, focus on specific genres, Netflix has taken a similar approach to gaming as it does to its streaming service - that is, offering a wide variety of titles for wider appeal.
"Our goal is to have a game on the service for everyone. Not focus on making one big experience, but rather a selection of titles that members can choose to play."
While Netflix initially began offering game streaming in 2021, it initially struggled to engage users. While this could have been seen as a weak start, Loombe stated that the company had deliberately avoided making a big splash with its first foray into gaming, instead focusing on a more low-key approach as it took its time to understand the gaming market.
It’s worth considering what makes mobile so uniquely appealing to companies making their first steps into the world of gaming. Mobile titles have a lower average development cost in comparison to PC and console titles, resulting in a lower financial risk for the company. It’s also worth noting that mobile games often have a lower development time, making it easier for the company to create more games in a shorter time, widening its portfolio in the space by casting a wider net.
Looking forward, Loombe stated that users can expect Netflix to create more games based on its intellectual properties. Expansion beyond mobile is coming, with Netflix hiring Bungie alumnus Joseph Staten as creative director of an AAA multiplatform title. Most recently, the company announced the launch of the Netflix Stories brand - a series of interactive novels based on its titles.
"Connecting shows, movies and games together from our universes is what we're trying to accomplish."
We listed Netflix as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2023.