Thursday, July 29

Netflix’s big gaming plans aren’t really about creating video games, according to a Netflix job listing


  • Netflix reportedly has major plans to add video games to its wildly popular streaming service.
  • Those games could arrive on Netflix as soon as next year, according to Bloomberg.
  • But what kind of games should users expect? A Netflix job listing draws a pretty clear picture.

With over 200 million paid subscribers worldwide, Netflix is ​​an absolute behemoth.

The streaming entertainment giant has successfully transitioned from a scrappy startup paying to license content to a major player in Hollywood, splashing out tens of millions of dollars on its own productions.

So, what’s next for

Netflix
? The answer to that question, at least in part, appears to be video games.

The company just hired former EA executive Mike Verdu to lead its “Interactive” department, and a new Bloomberg report says the plan is to add games directly onto the streaming service. Those games would show up in the same app that you’re currently using to watch the new season of “I Think You Should Leave,” albeit as its own genre, the report says.

But don’t expect to see the latest “Super Mario” or “Call of Duty” games on Netflix anytime soon.

The goal with Netflix’s gaming division is to, “create new types of stories and new product experiences,” a Netflix job listing says.” Those games will be overseen by the new Netflix “Interactive” department.

The game library is apparently intended as a marketing hook for the existing service rather than a reason unto itself to subscribe. The goal of games created by Netflix Interactive is to, “enhance and deepen member engagement,” the listing said.

We’ve already got a pretty good idea of ​​what those games will look like as well, as the job listing explicitly calls out a previous example of “games” that Netflix produced: “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.”

bandersnatch choice

“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” offers viewers linear choices at pre-determined points in the story, similar to a choose-your-own-adventure book.

Netflix


Viewers of the special “Black Mirror” episode can interact with plot elements using their remote control, effectively changing the direction of the story and its characters.

Though it has game-like elements, such as light interactivity and divergent storytelling, “Bandersnatch” is unlike most video games in every other way.

That may not matter for upcoming Netflix Interactive games, which are unlikely to compete directly with games on other platforms.

“The opportunity before us is to expand our slate of interactive innovations and capabilities, including but not limited to new types of features, game-like experiences, and different ways of interacting with stories,” the job listing says. “It’s time to reimagine the future of entertainment yet again.”

Rather than creating traditional video games, it sounds from the listing like Netflix Interactive aims to do something interactive that leans more toward the film world than the video game world.

Exactly what that looks like remains to be seen, but it could arrive as soon as next year on Netflix: According to the Bloomberg report, Netflix wants to have games on its platforms “within the next year.”

“I do think they will try, and do think they will fail,” Wedbush managing director Michael Pachter told Insider back in May regarding Netflix’s gaming ambitions. “It’s hard to make games.”

Pachter’s similarly critical of the possibility of Netflix making games so quickly.

He said there’s “no chance” that happens in a recent episode of Bloomberg Quick Take: “They don’t have a team, they’re not capable of making games, and the idea that they think they’re gonna launch games next year is crazy. There’s no chance they get anything made in the next year.”

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email ([email protected]), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.





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