Netflix Eyes Game Streaming Expansion And You're Going To Love The Price
Don't look now (er, do look, actually), but Netflix apparently has aspirations of being the Netflix of games! That is to say, it is reported the company wants to expand into video games (as previously rumored) and has brought on some key talent to help lead the effort. Should Netflix pull this off, it could be a major disrupting force, just as it was (and still is) for streaming movies and TV shows.
I have to say, Netflix's ability to pivot and evolve with the times is impressive (save for that short-lived Qwikster spin-off a decade ago). Navigating the online landscape is not easy, yet Netflix took its popular DVD-by-mail subscription service and adeptly expanded into streaming movies and TV shows, and eventually even created its own content. In doing so, it became a veritable juggernaut in the space.
Can it do the same for video games? We may find out, according to what people who are supposedly in the know are saying. While nothing has been formally announced, it's said Netflix will begin offering games on its streaming subscription service next year, and it will not even cost anything extra—it will just be another programming category.
Color me skeptical (that sounds too good to be true), but also cautiously excited and most definitely intrigued. Netflix is already putting a team together to drive its push into gaming. In fact, a recent job posting for a director of product innovation, interactive, makes it clear that having "creative experience in game development" is a big plus on the resume.
One of the key hires is Mike Verdu, who will serve as vice president of game development at Netflix. Verdu previously worked at Electronic Arts and worked on multiple popular mobile games, such as Plants vs. Zombies, and also filled a role as creative officer at Zynga earlier in the decade. More recently, Verdu worked at Facebook and was tasked with helping developers bring games to Oculus VR hardware.
Reading between the lines, it looks as though Netflix wants to make its own games, too. It certainly has some interesting IP to work with, like Stranger Things and Cobra Kai.
Game streaming is not an easy business to crack. Google has attempted it with Stadia, and Microsoft is making a spirited push with its Game Pass service. Nvidia's GeForce Now is arguably the best example so far, but Netflix's entry in the space could potentially be a major disruption. It is already the largest streaming service in the world with over 200 million subscribers, and adding games to the mix could help retain them, as well as add more to the fold.
Even just the news of Netflix's expansion is already having somewhat of an impact. GameStop's stock is down 6 percent in premarket trading after Netflix announced it is bringing Verdu on board, and Netflix's stock is up a few percentage points.
We'll be keeping an eye on this to see how it develops.