It’s no secret that Netflix envisions a significant future in gaming. The streaming giant now offers complete games as part of its bundled service and even owns first-party studios, including Oxenfree II: Lost Signals developer Night School Studio. This is all on top of having perhaps the best lineup of TV series for video games, anime and film adaptations on the market. As you can see, Netflix’s future clearly lies somewhere in the gaming space.
As part of this year’s Geeked Week, we saw the next step in this gaming future. Not only have we received trailers for upcoming adaptations and game-focused entertainment, such as the upcoming Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, but we’ve also received announcements regarding a whole host of real games coming to Netflix later this year and into 2024, many of which are brand new experiences that tie into some of the streamers’ most exciting upcoming additions.
If you haven’t checked out Oxenfree II: Lost Signals yet, you can do so now. But you can also play titles like Moonlighter, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, Spiritfarer, Twelve Minutes, Dead Cells, Football Manager 2024 Mobile, and even critically acclaimed experiences like Sam Barlow’s Immortality. The list of games is often overlooked and underrated, probably because of the list of rather uninspired projects created to enhance Netflix’s most popular shows and movies (we’re looking at your Too Hot To Handle games), but this doesn’t stop Netflix from wanting to explore the games space further.
Leanne Loombe, Netflix’s VP of external games, told us: “We’re trying to make sure there’s a game for everyone on Netflix. Whether you play every day or you’ve never played a game before. So that variety and breadth in our portfolio is very important.”
Loombe continued: “We’re very focused on recognizable IP, and some really great indie games in there, and this is really to focus on and superserve the great Geeked Week experience.”
As for what this means for Netflix’s continued commitment to the game industry and what the future holds for Netflix’s efforts in this area, Loombe added: “We’re just over 80 games now and we’ve been at it since November 2021. We are aiming for a regular cadence of games, just as we do on the film and TV side. Part of games is adding more value and more member enjoyment to our membership subscription, so we want to maintain a continuous flow of games every week whenever possible.”“You can expect more and more games to come weekly, all the way through this year and also into next year.”
Looking to the future, Netflix has announced a series of games it plans to add to its service in 2024 alone. Some of these games are titles that have already appeared elsewhere and received rave reviews and acclaim, including Supermassive’s Hades, Acid Nerve’s Death’s Door, Thekla’s Braid, Anniversary Edition and Askiisoft’s Katana Zero. But to add to this, there is a collection of new launches that seem to build on already popular shows and movies on the streaming platform.
With the continued success of Money Heist, Netflix is releasing a game that allows players to join the crew that started it all for an adventure where your choices matter. Money Heist is launching along with the spin-off series and will be available exclusively and only to Netflix subscribers.
To add, once fans have had a chance to see and enjoy Aardman’s highly anticipated Chicken Run sequel, the streamer will also release a real-time top-down heist title in which players use squad-based mechanics to infiltrate and help chickens escape to Chicken Island from iconic locations in the series. Chicken Run: Eggstraction will also be available only to Netflix subscribers.
Finally, or at least of the games we know will be coming to Netflix within the first few months of 2024, is The Dragon Prince: Xadia. This cooperative action-RPG comes from Wonderstorm, the same team that created the popular animated series, and sees players undertake missions to fight and take on villains from the series and discover new stories along the way. Although it will be available exclusively through Netflix for mobile users, the game will eventually come to PC as well.
Loombe told us: “We can really create authentic gaming experiences around those IPs that are very connected to the TV show or the movie, and so we will definitely see a lot more of this. I think this is where we will lean, I think this is what our fans and our members are asking for. So this is something that will help us differentiate our game portfolio from others.”
As for how Netflix typically brings games from outside developers to Netflix, Loombe told us how it is often a two-way conversation between the streamer and game studios.
“It works both ways, to be honest. There are some developers that we’re really interested in their particular IP and the game they’ve made before. Hades is a fantastic game. So it really depends on the partner. Sometimes we go to the developer and ask ‘is it possible to make a version of this game for the mobile experience?’ Sometimes those developers come to us and say we’re really excited about making a mobile game and we think Netflix is the perfect platform for that. It’s really a two-way conversation.”
With such an emphasis to continue to expand its gaming portfolio and further commit to working with developers to bring mobile versions of their games to the streaming platform, Loombe was asked if Netflix sees a future in the PC and console space.
“We’re very focused on mobile today. We’ve announced our cloud technology, we’re at a very early stage now with our cloud technology … our cloud infrastructure and technology allows members to play on PC and TV, and so that means we will have multiple platforms across the platform…. That’s really our focus right now from a platform strategy. Going forward, we will continue to evaluate what makes sense for our portfolio.”
Loombe continued when pressed for more information on the future of Netflix games on Xbox and PlayStation: “I think it’s always a conversation as part of our strategy and where we want to take the portfolio. As I said, mobile is really a big opportunity for us, and we see great potential to serve our members in that way through mobile, and then of course through TV, because that’s really where our members experience Netflix. We want to meet our members where they are, in front of TV and in front of PCs and laptops through the cloud, and that’s really our focus right now.”
Recently, we’ve seen Netflix explore how it offers ads to its members, with different tiers that are either cheaper and include ads, or more expensive and avoid them. Loombe was asked if we will ever see ads included in Netflix’s gaming portfolio, to which she answered succinctly: “There are no plans for ads in games.”
What Loombe did confirm directly is that Netflix’s future in games is more than just bringing to or making games for its members. It plans to explore making TV or movies based on its projects, which means we can expect the streamer’s lineup of video game-related adaptations to continue to expand over time.
Loombe specifically stated: “I think that’s certainly possible. Yes, our strategy absolutely works both ways. So there’s definitely more to come in that space.”
Netflix has big plans in gaming. While clearly intent on continuing to explore the mobile and cloud market, Netflix has no plans to relax its efforts to bring video games to its members as part of its subscription. Maybe it’s time to finally check out some of those games that are already available….