Streaming giant Netflix is reportedly busy approaching senior people in the games industry to create and lead a subscription game service.
A number of tech giants, including Apple, Microsoft and Google, have tried to create a kind of Netflix for games – offering unlimited use of games’ content for a fixed monthly price. Now, at a time when the sector has seen the number of game players rocket as a result of people staying at home during the pandemic, it looks as though Netflix itself could be the main competition.
Why it matters
As Netflix’s growth starts to slow, it needs to seek out other revenue streams, and for brands, games are becoming an increasingly important avenue for product placement that puts them right in front of players.
Netflix’s expansion into games is said to be at a very early stage, but the company has reportedly concluded that games will not carry advertising.
Netflix is believed to have considered offering a bundle of games like Apple's Apple Arcade, as one possibility. But no decision is believed to have been reached on whether a subscription service would mean Netflix will need to produce games itself. Apple Arcade only offers content from third-party developers. However, other subscription services, such as Microsoft’s Game Pass, and Sony’s PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus, offer access to exclusive hit games.
Another decision Netflix has yet to make is whether its gaming service would employ streaming technology, or create apps to be downloaded to users’ devices.
Netflix’s subscriber base reportedly reached 200 million at the start of 2021. By contrast, Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass has just a fraction of that with 23 million subscribers as of April this year.