The Chicago Journal

Netflix’s Strategic Approach to the Gaming World

Netflix gaming
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The Long-Term Game Plan

Netflix’s journey into the gaming industry has been a deliberate and methodical one. It’s been nearly two years since the company first announced its intent to enter this space, and during this period, it has expanded its game library at a steady pace, growing from 24 to an impressive 77 games in just a year. However, the response from subscribers has been somewhat muted, leaving many to wonder about the rationale behind this approach. In this article, we will delve into Netflix’s gaming strategy, exploring the company’s vision and the method behind its measured expansion into the gaming world.

Crawl, Walk, Run – A Familiar Pattern

The “crawl, walk, run” approach is a well-known strategy at Netflix, and Co-CEO Greg Peters emphasizes that this pattern isn’t new to the company. He likens the journey into gaming to previous ventures, such as the launch of new regions or the introduction of new content genres, like unscripted shows. According to Peters, this incremental approach is crucial for building a long-term center of entertainment value. The idea is to ensure that each step is well-founded before moving on to the next, ultimately providing subscribers with a well-rounded gaming experience.

Diversifying Revenue Streams

Netflix’s decision to enter the gaming arena isn’t solely about providing entertainment but is part of a broader strategy to secure future revenue streams. The company acknowledges the possibility of reaching saturation in its subscriber base, and as a proactive measure, it’s exploring various avenues. Besides gaming, Netflix is also looking into opportunities in sports and retail, both of which are currently in their early development phases.

The Role of Gaming in Subscriber Engagement

Gaming serves a unique role in the Netflix ecosystem. It acts as a strategic tool to keep subscribers engaged between seasons of their favorite shows. Take, for instance, the immensely popular “Stranger Things,” which has been adapted into two games. These games provide a way for fans to immerse themselves in the show’s world even when new episodes aren’t available. It’s all about maintaining an ongoing connection with subscribers.

Attracting Gaming Talent

To bolster its credibility in the gaming industry, Netflix has attracted key figures from the gaming world. The recruitment of Mike Verdu, a former Electronic Arts mobile gaming executive, as Vice President of Game Development in 2021, and Joseph Staten, known for his role as the creative chief for Microsoft’s “Halo Infinite,” joining as the “Creative Director for a brand-new AAA multiplatform game and original IP,” speaks volumes about Netflix’s commitment to gaming.

Overcoming Challenges

One challenge Netflix faces is promoting its mobile games to subscribers who primarily use the platform on TV screens. It’s a unique marketing challenge, and the article delves into strategies Netflix might employ to overcome this obstacle and make its mobile game library more accessible to its existing user base.

A Glimpse at Download Numbers

As of September 2023, we take a closer look at the download statistics for Netflix’s games and the average daily users, offering insights into the current state of gaming on the platform. These numbers reveal that while Netflix’s game library has expanded significantly, less than 1% of its massive 247.15 million subscribers play games on a daily basis.

Comparing Netflix to Mobile Gaming Giants

To put Netflix’s gaming efforts into perspective, a comparison is drawn between the streaming giant and established mobile gaming publishers. Netflix’s journey in the gaming world is still in its early stages, and it faces stiff competition from long-established players.

Expanding Beyond Mobile

Netflix is actively exploring ways to broaden its gaming horizons. The company is now testing games that can be played on any device, marking a significant expansion beyond the mobile platform. This move is aimed at diversifying its gaming offerings and making them more accessible to a wider audience.

The Trajectory of Netflix’s Gaming Strategy

Netflix’s gaming strategy follows a familiar trajectory, similar to its approach to new content categories, where it builds gradually over a multiyear period. While specific data points remain undisclosed, hints from company executives provide a glimpse into the path Netflix is charting in the gaming landscape.

The Future of Netflix Gaming

Netflix’s gaming journey is far from over. The article touches on the company’s plans to adapt popular series into mobile games and explores the potential for licensing deals, such as an iteration of Grand Theft Auto. These steps signify Netflix’s ambition to play a more significant role in the gaming industry.

Technological Challenges

The article also delves into the technological challenges Netflix faces as it seeks to create a seamless gaming experience on larger screens. These challenges include issues related to bandwidth and server infrastructure, which can impact the gaming experience.

Netflix’s Unique Approach

While Netflix acknowledges the limitations of streaming hardcore multiplayer games on its platform, it maintains a unique business model for its gaming division. It aims to provide a natural and engaging way to play games wherever users are, even if it differs from the conventional console-based gaming experience.