Netflix is a Streaming Juggernaut. Can it Take on Gaming Too?





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Netflix is putting more resources into establishing itself in the video game industry, according to The Wall Street Journal. The streaming giant is working on expanding its offerings to include bigger games that can be streamed from TV and PC. 

Netflix subscribers will soon be able to play games based on the Korean thriller Squid Game and spooky comedy Wednesday, sources close to the matter told The Wall Street Journal. The sources also said the company is considering making games based on Extraction, Black Mirror and its Sherlock Holmes series. Netflix will continue licensing familiar favorites like Classic Solitaire.

The company rolled out a limited beta test in Canada and the United Kingdom in August. The test made Oxenfree and Molehew’s Mining available to play on select TVs, PCs, and Macs while the player used their smartphone as a controller when playing the games on TV. The limited beta test opened in the U.S. today.

Credit: Netflix

Netflix launched a modest game selection for subscribers with no ads, in-app purchases or extra fees in 2021. Since then, the app has amassed over 50 titles.

The strategy mirrors how the streamer handled launching its original content. According to the report, Netflix built its audience with TV show darlings like Friends, The Office and Breaking Bad while it assembled future original hits like House of Cards and Stranger Things.

So far, Netflix has launched multiple games based on original shows like The Queen’s Gambit, Narcos, and Love is Blind. Over the last few years, the company has also made moves to acquire gaming studios like Night School, the creators of Oxenfree and Oxenfree 2, both available on the streaming platform. 

Expanding into larger games would put Netflix in competition with established gaming titans like Sony and Microsoft, the latter of which just closed a $69 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard. The deal brought heavyweight titles like Call of Duty and Overwatch under the Xbox umbrella. 

It’s unclear what delving more into video games will mean for Netflix’s bottom line. As of June 30, only 2.2 million people worldwide played Netflix games every day, according to Investor’s Business Daily, or about 0.9% of the streaming giant’s subscriber base. 

Last week, reports emerged that Netflix was planning to open physical stores by 2025 that will offer patrons themed food, show merchandise, the chance to meet actors, and watch ticketed shows. Netflix’s potential gaming expansion plans would be another significant undertaking at a time when a majority of streaming companies are struggling to retain viewers and maintain profitability. 

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