Last week, it was revealed that Netflix had fired the starting gun on its gaming ambitions with the hire of former EA and Oculus man Mike Verdu as its vice president of game development.
But Netflix was extremely tight-lipped about what its gaming plans would ultimately look like with everything from more ‘choose your own adventure’ style content to full fledged triple-A content mooted.
Now dataminer Steve Moser has found something pretty intriguing buried within the iOS Netflix app’s code. Not only did Moser uncover a possible logo — a shark fin emerging from the water, as the current working name is apparently “Shark” — but he also found an image of a pair of DualSense controllers, and artwork from PlayStation exclusive Ghost of Tsushima. Notably, these images were all removed when the app was later updated.
Netflix’s gaming feature has a current working name of “Shark” and is represented by this image in their iOS app: a shark fin. Could an image of PS5 controllers and Sony’s Ghost of Tsushima (director’s cut coming Aug. 20th) indicate a partnership with $SONY? Cc @HedgeyeComm $NFLX pic.twitter.com/FLghlRlu20July 15, 2021
Plus, while Sony Pictures and the Sony PlayStation division are definitely separate entities, it would be remiss not to mention that Netflix recently signed a deal to stream the company’s movies once their cinema run is complete. That includes the upcoming Uncharted movie, potentially providing a nice bridge between movies and games.
But it’s important not to get too carried away: this could all be coincidence and hearsay. Maybe someone working on the app needed some game images, and just used Tsushima and the DualSense controller as a placeholder, not thinking they would be seen outside the office.
Plus, Verdu’s gaming experience is primarily in the area of putting games in unexpected places, from helping launch The Sims on smartphone to ensuring Farmville took over everyone’s Facebook feeds a decade ago. Just getting existing PlayStation games on Netflix sounds like a waste of his knowhow.
All the same, it could be a win-win for both parties. For Netflix, the benefit is obvious: it would get a running start with some of the best-known gaming franchises around, without having to source and/or fund its own titles. Even Apple with its enormous resources has struggled to gain traction for Apple Arcade this way.
Sony, meanwhile, would seemingly lose the advantage of the PS4 and PS5 being the only place to play its games. But such a move could then take away the competitive advantage Microsoft has managed to build with its Xbox Game Pass streaming service.
Again, all speculation for the time being. But the idea of gaming getting its own section on Netflix and being able to jump straight from the best Netflix shows to Demon’s Souls without switching HDMI channels sounds promising to us.