Netflix is seemingly making a big push into video games, because clearly movies and TV just aren’t enough for the streaming giant.
A Netflix spokesperson reportedly told The Hollywood Reporter that it’s expanding into video games and to do so it has hired Mike Verdu, who previously worked at both Oculus and EA, as “vice president of game development.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Netflix has delved into the world of video games. The company previously announced plans to invest in video game development in 2019 — particularly adaptations of its original programming, like Stranger Things and Dark Crystal.
Netflix has also dabbled in hosting games on its platform by offering Minecraft: Story Mode and producing interactive stories such as Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Verdu will be reporting directly to Netflix CEO Greg Peters, and the idea is to have games appear in the Netflix app as a new genre. In other words, you could well see upcoming video games alongside the likes of Lupin, Bridgerton, and Cobra Kai.
The good news is that these games are reportedly not going to cost more, and should be part of your existing Netflix subscription. The only question is, how are they going to work? Netflix’s current slate of interactive programming, including Minecraft, are little more than ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’-style stories that can be played with a remote.
It all depends on what kind of games Netflix ends up creating. After all, Apple made a big show about playing mobile-tier games on the Apple TV back in 2015, all of which was done with the Siri remote that came in the box. There’s no reason why Netflix couldn’t do something similar, and offer casual games that can be controlled with either a D-Pad (something many modern remotes have) or basic touchscreen controls.
Any grander ambitions would not only require Netflix to offer controller support, but also potentially dedicated servers and infrastructure to support game streaming. And that’s no easy task.
Microsoft’s game streaming via Xbox Game Pass is still in beta despite the company having the second largest cloud infrastructure in the world. And Google Stadia hasn’t been a resounding success. So Netflix will likely need to tread carefully with its gaming ambitions.