More details have emerged after news broke recently that Netflix was moving into video game territory.
Plans could change, but as of right now whenever Netflix does implement its video game component it will be without ads or in-app purchases and come at no additional cost to Netflix subscribers, per The Hollywood Reporter.
This info was announced in a shareholder letter and it makes sense. Publicly, Netflix head honchos have never batted an eye at their streaming competition like Disney+ or HBOMax, but they have shown concern about one thing dragging attention away from their service: video games.
Specifically, they’ve named Fortnite as dragging more eyeballs away from Netflix content than any other streaming programming. So they’re doing something about it, but don’t get your hopes up for a massive Apple Arcade or Xbox Game Pass-style catalogue right out of the gate.
Netflix COO and Chief Product Officer Greg Peters said this will be a multi-year effort and will start relatively small, but promises it will grow.
“Our subscription model yields some opportunities to focus on a set of game experiences that are currently underserved by the sort of dominant monetization models in games. We don’t have to think about ads, we don’t have to think about in-game purchases or other monetization, we don’t have to think about per-title purchases. Really, we can do what we’ve been doing on the movie and series side, which is just hyper, laser focused on delivering the most entertaining game experiences that we can.”
They also add that their plan with these games does include introducing original IP that they could then spin off into movies or series and I’d say it’s very, very, very likely we’ll see some of their more popular original content translated into games as well.
They’ve already licensed out Stranger Things for an 8-Bit style game before. But they surely have the ability to create new games for that universe, let alone other popular Netflix stuff like the recent Fear Street series (how cool would it be to have an NES Friday the 13th style game, but with Fear Street villains?) or Sweet Tooth or…can you imagine…Tim Robinson‘s I Think You Should Leave?
What Kind of Games Are We Talking About Here?
What I’m still trying to get a read on is just what kind of games they’re talking about here because with the mention of in-game purchases and ads it certainly sounds like these games will start off small in scope, like mobile games. They’re not hinting around games like Halo or The Last of Us, but it will take that kind of scope to really connect with people if their ultimate goal is to spin off that IP into a whole live-action or animated series. Candy Crush doesn’t really cry out for a movie adaptation, does it?
But at no extra cost to subscribers, the expectation of video game content can’t be that high. However, if they’re wanting to compete with Apple Arcade and Xbox Game Pass (or Fortnite for that matter) they’re going to have to eventually be more than just a mobile gaming experience.
That will take some time, at least for original content. Gaming development takes many years on a AAA-style game. If they approach this like they did with the original Netflix model and buy the streaming rights to established games while they build up their originals, this could be a delightful hodgepodge of time-wasters.
Time will tell.
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