Picture taken on September 11, 2014 to illustrate the on-demand internet streaming media provider, Netflix, on the home video game console PlayStation 3 in Stockholm. The online streaming website Netflix will be launched in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg mid-September. It is already operating in Scandinavian countries. AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)

Why does Netflix want to get into games now?

Netflix’s is coming in the video game service is still covered in mystery as to what will be the games the streaming platform will provide to its user base. It has penetrated its toes into the category with ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’, which works more like making your very own adventure programming than an orthodox video game. A lot of people are talking about what original Netflix shows and movies would look like if they are made to video games.

They initially announced their arrival in July, both unwrapping plans for the new video game department and Netflix’s appointment of Mike Verdu. Mike Verdu hails from Facebook Gaming Department, where he worked to stabilize Facebook’s Oculus VR products. Because of his expertise, early theories suggested Netflix would produce VR games, although during an earnings conference in July, Netflix declared their main focus would be on smartphone games. If everything falls in its place, Netflix gaming will come out in 2022 for free to their subscribers.

Not much has been revealed about the actual video game of Netflix, or if the games will be based on existing online shows or consist entirely new storyline. It would make more sense for the games to be based on ongoing shows as it could introduce the shows to a new & wider audience as well as give the already existing fans content to cherish among seasons. Netflix’s video games could also give a fresh approach to the original shows that have concluded. Almost every show on Netflix has the potential to reinvent itself in the form of video games.

Netflix Shows as Video Games

Many of Netflix’s biggest shows would work just fine to a video game adaptation.  An adaption of ‘Queer Eye’ to a smartphone game would be a huge hit, allowing players to take full control of five-faceted in-game transformations. Other original Netflix shows with more vivid universes or fantasy outline, such as ‘Stranger Things’ or ‘Ozark’, would be a great fit in RPG genre, which have become quite a success on mobile platforms these days.

It would be interesting to see Netflix video games’ adaption that aren’t produced or owned by Netflix. For instance, ‘Bridgerton’ is a Netflix original, but it is adapted from a popular book series, the publisher of which may be having the rights in other platforms. ‘The Witcher’ does not only hails from a book series but also from a popular video game franchise as well – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is commonly referred to as one of the best video games of all time.

Competitors have tried and failed

Cloud gaming is not an innovation, only new to Netflix. In fact, one of its biggest competitors in the streaming business, Amazon, offers a Cloud-gaming subscription service. Amazon’s Luna is available for gamers since October 2020 and has yet to make any difference. It offers user an ocean of action, RPG, and FPS titles, including an exclusive partnership with the gaming giant Ubisoft. While there is an opportunity to experience games like ‘Assassin’s Creed’ and ‘Far Cry’ brings public to Amazon’s Cloud gaming platform, it still has a lot to cover to make gamers shift from the console wars to the streaming wars.

The basic membership of Amazon Luna is $5.99/month, and if you add the beta of Ubisoft+ it will cost you $14.99, Amazon is charging $290 a year (including $50 for a controller) to experience its Cloud gaming. Although the price is less than a PlayStation 5, it’s hard to imagine someone with a console choosing to go for Luna with less title and boundations.

It’s not Amazon only that is struggling with Cloud gaming. Google, too, has experienced the same problem with its setup, Stadia. Google is still looking forward to launch another 100 games for the platform in 2021. They’re also working on a new model for revenue sharing in an attempt to attract new developers. The approximate users of the gaming service are only about two million as compared to that of PlayStation Network’s 109 million monthly subscribers.

Cloud gaming: Battle of Intellectual Property

So, let’s assume that Netflix successfully launches Cloud gaming in such a way that it becomes a benchmark highlight that other companies have to match. Let’s say that platforms like HBOMax, AppleTV+, and Disney+ decided to roll out gaming platforms, the penultimate winner would likely be the one with the best gaming exclusivity.

Just think what made you subscribe to the existing services you already use to stream:  is it exclusivity? If you want to watch Wanda Vision, Loki, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier you’re in dire need of Disney+. As Amazon’s decides to acquire MGM illustrates, the streaming wars can be summed about what your competitors don’t have and what you have. You can play ‘Assassin’s Creed’ on Luna and ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ on Stadia, but they are available on every platform. 

Ultimately, it’s not easy to predict how Netflix will perform with video games in the cloud-gamin platform wars without more details about their plans. To conclude, they are experienced enough and have a track record of success to expect that they would take streaming into the next generation.