Netflix has further detailed its upcoming entry into the games industry, confirming previous reports of adding gaming-related operations into the company’s current subscription model.
In its Q2 shareholders letter that was sent out earlier today, Netflix specifically noted that it is approaching games as a “new content category,” similarly to that of its previous expansion into original films, animation, and other programming.
At the moment, Netflix is planning to include games as part of its current subscription service at no extra cost to users, treating these titles as new films or series being added to the overall catalog. Additionally, the company is initially going to focus on games optimized for mobile devices, likely to appeal to its users that mainly use the Netflix app on their phones or tablets.
“We’re also in the early stages of further expanding into games, building on our earlier efforts around interactivity (eg, Black Mirror Bandersnatch) and our Stranger Things games,” Netflix said. “We’re excited as ever about our movies and TV series offering and we expect a long runway of increasing investment and growth across all of our existing content categories, but since we are nearly a decade into our push into original programming, we think the time is right to learn more about how our members value games.”
Based on that statement, Netflix is going to test the waters by bringing various mobile titles at no additional cost to its existing user base and gauge the response before making more impactful development decisions in the future.
This move is an expansion that Netflix has likely been planning for years. Back in 2019, the company said its main competition was Epic Games’ Fortnite, not other streaming services. That sentiment was reiterated in the shareholder letter, with the streaming company listing Epic, alongside YouTube and TikTok, as competitors in “the race to entertain consumers around the world.”
“We are mostly competing with ourselves to improve our service as fast as we can,” Netflix said. “If we can do that, we’re confident we can maintain our strong position and continue to grow nicely as we have been over the past two-plus decades.”
Last week, Netflix hired former Electronic Arts Inc. and Facebook executive Mike Verdu to lead its gaming efforts, which are reportedly set to launch in 2022.