The move would make Apple Arcade’s $4.99 per month service the company’s direct rival.
One usually associates Netflix with movies and TV shows, but not gaming. The company’s second-quarter earnings report, however, suggests that’s about to change.
Netflix suggested it could soon explore gaming as “another new content category,” starting with mobile games for paying subscribers.
Netflix said that it is viewing gaming as a category for expansion just like original films, animation, and unscripted TV in the past.
With the initial foray, Netflix wants to learn how users “value games.” The company clarified that games will be a free-of-cost addition for existing subscribers.
Its closest rival, Apple Arcade offers games playable on iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple TVs.
Apple Arcade itself hasn’t taken the mobile gaming market by storm with titles playable on low-powered Apple TVs, even if the titles are the same games that one could play on iOS.
While it is unlikely that even Netflix would develop new games, the fact that it plans to bundle games with subscriptions puts it a step ahead of Apple Arcade’s separate subscription offering.
Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings said, “We’re a one-product company,” and that product is the one membership you buy. Everything that Netflix produces including shows, movies, Original content, and now games will be a part of this product.
Netflix games will reportedly be ad-free and won’t have options for in-game purchases either. Moreover, you won’t need to buy individual titles.
For strategy, Netflix explained that it will experiment with titles based on popular Netflix franchises, so fans can dive deeper into their favorite stories and characters.
The streaming giant said that it will also try completely original games that spawn spin-off movies or shows themselves.
CNET reported that Netflix could also experiment with games based on popular media outside Netflix’s library.
But why would Netflix want to dabble in the gaming market? Well, in 2020, worldwide stay-at-home orders saw the number of new Netflix subscribers shoot up.
With the pandemic-related restrictions now easing off, the streaming giant recorded its third quarterly subscriber count decline in 10 years.
In the US and Canada alone, Netflix lost around 430,000 subscribers in the second quarter this year.
However, Netflix’s gaming venture doesn’t come as a surprise. Earlier this year, a report by The Information highlighted Netflix’s interest in games. MacRumors reported that the company has hired former Electronic Arts (EA) executive Mike Verdu as the President of Game Development.
The company hasn’t specified a timeline for the gaming initiative but said it was in the “early stages” of a “multi-year effort.”