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Netflix to have videogames as part of member subscriptions

Reportedly they will be working with Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Bridgerton, to include gaming in the deal

Although the digital streaming service is one of the most used across the world, there is always something that can be added. More and more people are enjoying gaming as part of their lives and Netflix is recognising this. They announced in their second-quarter earnings report on Tuesday that they will begin by focusing on mobile games, and these will be included in the monthly subscriptions. It has been noted that the gaming side of Netflix could begin as soon as next year, as they have already hired former gaming company EA and Oculus executive Mike Verdu as the vice president of game development to kick start the new initiative. Also, reportedly they will be working with Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Bridgerton, to include gaming in the deal.

"The time is right to learn more about how our members value games," Netflix said on Tuesday.

With most countries still trundling through the pandemic with spur of the moment lockdowns and restrictions in place, you’d expect Netflix’s subscriber count to be going up. This was the case in 2020 but now it seems monthly subscription sales are falling below average. This meant that they also had a dip in their shares in after-hours trading due to them not meeting the subscription target. They are now expecting to have around 3.5 million new sign-ups in the three months to the end of September, almost half of what analysts had predicted- 5.86 million. Netflix has currently got around 209 million members who are paying the monthly subscription, and when the first lockdowns happened was when the numbers really shot up as people were spending more time at home.

Netflix has been contemplating the move onto gaming for quite some time now, as it had already run an interactive episode of Black Mirror, named Bandersnatch. This was received well by viewers and has sparked new excitement of where they could go with it next. With mobile games being available on the app to members, this may encourage more people to purchase a monthly subscription and boost Netflix’s sale once more. The likelihood of full-length videogames being available on the app is something that we will be prepared to see, and as mentioned, with someone like Mike Verdu overseeing this, it’s certainly seeming like it will become a reality. Gaming could be a unique offering from Netflix, as there are many competitors in the mix already such as Disney+ and Amazon Prime, who are providing a worthy challenge to hold down members.

"The company will have to dedicate significant resources including time and investment with no guaranteed success. For sure this is a long-term play as Netflix needs to strongly think about retention and engagement." says independent telecoms analyst, Paolo Pescatore.

Going from movies and original shows to games may seem like a leap, but it will take a lot of time to get it done correctly and draw in the right kinds of customers. Mobile games are certainly the best way to start, but with their profits already taking a slight dip from last quarter’s $1.7 billion to $1.35 billion this quarter, it has a lot to consider. After Covid-19 there were many of the main series and films had to have production halted, meaning consumers were having to wait longer for their favourites to come out, but with restrictions mainly easing they are planning to put more effort into completing shows they have on their timeline and ensuring the app and non-English content is up to standard.

It could take years for Netflix to fully establish itself in this new feat, but it could be something that reinvents them. Though there will be hard work, and lots of money spent, it will be interesting to see which end they come out of this.

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