Netflix is seriously considering expanding into gaming, according to several reports from the past few days. Not only is the streaming giant rumoured to be looking to hire a gaming executive to oversee the effort, but it’s also reportedly mulling building out its own version of an Apple Arcade-like gaming bundle.
The news first broke following an Information report on Friday, in which unnamed gaming sources were cited saying Netflix had approached “veteran game industry executives about joining the company.” The report went on to say that while Netflix’s gaming strategy is still up in the air, one potential option was to launch an online subscription gaming bundle based on Netflix’s own titles. But while many details have yet to be ironed out, the Information claims Netflix has already decided its games won’t feature advertising.
Reuters and Axios also corroborated that Netflix is on the hunt for a gaming executive. The Axios report also cites two anonymous sources as saying the gaming bundle would be a “smaller Apple Arcade” that would “feature a mix of licensed Netflix intellectual property and original work from independent studios.”
For its part, Netflix provided a statement to the Information, Axios, and Polygon that its members “value the variety and quality” of its content, as well as interactive shows like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and You v. Wild, and games based on Stranger Things, La Casa de Papel, and To All the Boys. So not a hard no, but not an outright confirmation either.
The move into gaming is likely an attempt to boost its subscriber base, as the company has seen slowing growth in the U.S. market and increased competition from rivals. In the past, Netflix has also pointed to Epic Games’ Fortnite as bigger competition for eyeballs than both HBO and Hulu. Netflix is also no stranger to the potential of building out content based on gaming titles. The Witcher, Resident Evil, Castlevania, DOTA: Dragon’s Blood, Angry Birds: Summer Madness, Assassin’s Creed, and Cyberpunk: Edgerunners are just some of the video game adaptations Netflix’s either produced or has in the works. It’s also got a history of teaming up with outside studios to create games based on its own IP. See: Stranger Things 3.
So far, reports say Netflix’s purported gaming service could launch as early as 2022. However, nothing’s been set in stone yet, and considering Google and Amazon’s flailing attempts at their own online gaming services, Netflix could just scrap the idea altogether.