Thursday, July 29

Netflix will launch video games at no additional cost in a new stage in the fight for your attention

In the document That sums up its long-term strategy, Netflix makes it clear that its competition is not just other streaming platforms, but any type of entertainment. “We strive to win the ‘moments of truth’ of our members. Those moments of decision are, for example, at 7.15pm, when a member wants to relax, enjoy a shared experience with friends and family, or when he is bored. There the partner can choose Netflix or a multitude of other options, “they describe.

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If at 7.15 pm that person picks up a book or starts playing on their mobile, the company loses one of those “moments of truth.” While deciding how to compete against analog entertainment options, such as “reading a magazine”, the multinational has made a move to directly attack that segment of users who choose to be distracted by the phone.

In a letter to your shareholders published this Tuesday, Netflix has confirmed that it will include video games among its contents and that these will not entail an additional cost in subscriptions. “We see games as another new category of content, similar to our expansion into original films, animation and unscripted television,” they explain to their investors.

We see games as another new category of content, similar to our expansion into original films, animation, and unscripted television.


“Initially, we will focus primarily on mobile games. We are very excited about our film and TV series offering and look forward to a long track record of increased investment and growth across all of our content categories, but as we have almost a decade of impulse to original programming, we believe that it is the right time to learn more about how our members value games, “says the management of Netflix.

The company has not discussed specific titles or elaborated on the game format it is thinking about. You have indicated that it will be based on your experience with Bandersnatch, the interactive chapter of the Black Mirror series in which the viewer can direct the actions of the protagonist through the controller. Netflix continued to explore the build your own adventure with Minecraft: Story Mode, an animation series inspired by the popular Minecraft video game.

The rumor that the streaming platform was going to land in the video game market imminently had increased in recent days after a source from the company confirmed it to the agency Bloomberg. It is an industry in constant growth that this 2020 has billed about 150,000 million euros, according to the Newzoo consultancy. In 2021 that number could increase by another 10 billion.

Despite those numbers, Netflix does not plan to raise the price of its subscriptions. Your interest lies elsewhere. “In an economy of attention such as the economy of entertainment, what matters is the time you have subject to the user; and the video game has proven to be the tool that has the greatest capacity to retain it,” explains Francisco Asensi, director of eSports and Digital Business of the DeAPlaneta production company, which was RTVE’s head of digital strategy for six years.

“A gamerSomeone who is no longer a casual player but has a deeper hobby profile, in an average game session it is not usually less than two hours. And if we already enter those who have more fondness … what Netflix seeks is to keep users in general for the longer the better, “the expert continues.

Mediaset and Big Brother video games

The announcement of the American giant has coincided with that of another large audiovisual content producer with a significant presence in Spain, Mediaset. The Italian company has announced the launch of a study whose mission is to bring the group’s content licenses to the video game. Its first three titles are linked to three film premieres: MalnaZidos (zombies in civil war), Way down (robbery of the Bank of Spain) and Tadeo Jones 3: Curse of the Mummy (animation).

In addition to its film and series productions, Mediaset advances that the objective of Mediaset Games is to explore the contents derived from the reality television programs for which the group is also known. “Let’s not forget that Mediaset is the house of reality, the house of interaction with the viewer, and we would also like to investigate that for the future”, has advanced David Sanz, director of digital television content at Mediaset.

The sector has received both initiatives quite differently. While the announcement of the US company may be a way to “bring videogames closer to people who cannot consider the profile gamer but for those who do use the Netflix app it is very natural “, explains Marta Trivi, director of the specialized magazine AnaitGames; it is more difficult to see “a winning strategy” in the Mediaset plan.

The reason is the low quality that the trailers of the Italian company’s video games have shown. Trivi anticipates that one of the reasons is that “Mediaset is not going to offer its licenses to just any studio, but has signed a partnership with PlayStation Talents”, an initiative aimed at supporting new developers promoted by the Sony brand.

“PlayStation Talents is not known for having a special quality in their proposals. It is not that all the games they have made are bad, of course they are not, but it is true that many times they work in collaboration with universities and projects that come out of there they are usually the first game that a certain team has played “, sums up the director of AnaitGames. The titles supported by PlayStation Talents are usually only the first from each production company and are generally downloadable for free.

Although Netflix may have more lungs in its internship in the field of video games, it is not guaranteed success either. The sector is in a clear ascending line, “but it is true that subscriptions to mobile video games have not finished to curdle. We have seen it with Android and Apple Arcade”, recalls Trivi.

Netflix itself has not ensured that the adventure in this field is final. In its letter to investors, its management recalls that it is one more step “in the race to entertain consumers around the world.” A race for attention in which he cites “YouTube, Epic Games and TikTok (to name just a few)” as competitors. “But above all, we compete with ourselves to improve our service as fast as we can,” they trust: “If we succeed, we are confident that we can maintain our solid position and continue to grow at a good pace.”

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