It started by mailing DVDs out, but it has evolved to be a streaming and production powerhouse. Netflix is now betting big on the future gaming industry.
Netflix announced Monday that it is building the first video game studio inside its Helsinki headquarters. This comes as it continues to expand its mobile gaming empire.
This news comes after Netflix (NFLX) had a difficult year. It lost its subscribers for the first time in over a decade and saw its stock plummet more than 60% in 2022 amid a wider market downturn. Tom Forte, a senior analyst at D.A., said that despite recent cost-cutting measures, he still believes the company is doing a good job. Davidson said that he views the move into gaming as an example of Netflix (NFLX), playing offense, and not a defense.”
Forte stated, “To Netflix’s credit they’re long-term thinkers.” Think about their pivots, from streaming to DVDs. They think long-term. They also act long-term.
Forte said that Netflix was particularly adept at “identifying early” that gaming was an imminent threat to its audience. This is due to the amount of time that people spend streaming and playing video games. This is a way for Netflix to monetize its most popular franchises such as “Stranger Things”.
Marko Lastikka will lead the new gaming studio. He is a veteran of gaming giants Zynga as well as Electronic Arts. Amir Rahimi, Netflix’s VP of Game Studios, stated in a blog post that Marko Lastikka would be overseeing the new studio.
Rahimi stated, “This is yet another step in our vision of building a world-class studio that will bring a variety of delightful and deeply engaging original games to our hundreds of million members around the globe — with no ads — without in-app purchase.”
He said that Helsinki was selected to host the new studio as it “homes some of the most talented game developers in the world.” Netflix bought Helsinki-based Next Games earlier this year. Rahimi stated that the new studio will be built from scratch.
With Monday’s announcement, Netflix now has four gaming studios. The company also acquired Night School Studio, Boss Fight Entertainment, and Next Games. Rahimi, Netflix’s CEO, said that each studio has its “different strengths” and will work together to create a variety of games for Netflix customers.
Netflix Games has been available for just over a year. According to Apptopia data, the streaming giant has 32 games that have been downloaded more than 30 million times worldwide.
Netflix games can be downloaded to mobile devices, including Android phones and tablets. They are also available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. However, they are not available on any other consoles. The selections include the retro adventure game “Stranger Things: 1984” and “Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story”.
Apptopia data shows that Netflix games were played by 1.63 million people per day over the past month. This number is just a fraction of the 220 million paid subscribers to Netflix.
Rahimi stated in his announcement that it was still early days.
Rahimi stated, “Creating a game takes years. I’m proud that we’re steadily building the foundations of our games studios in our initial year and look forward to sharing the products we create in the future.”