Set on total living room domination, streaming giant Netflix has announced its further steps into the world of video games by opening its own in-house game studio.
Having previously purchased several smaller studios, Netflix has been quick to realize the power of successful gaming IPs (and Henry Cavill’s abs). It's not just The Witcher, animated series like League of Legends spin off Arcane and Cyberpunk: Edgerunners have proved popular with subscribers. Now the company seems set to take the plunge and start developing its own games.
Based in Helsinki, Finland, which Netflix claims is "home to some of the best game talent in the world," the studio will be headed by former EA executive and Zynga founder Marko Lastikka.
But questions remain unanswered as to what kind of games the studio will be working on. Lastikka’s time at Zynga saw him take the lead on Farmville 3 and Netflix has also been working with Ubisoft on an Assassin's Creed mobile game to accompany the upcoming live-action TV series.
To confine the studios output to mobile games would in my opinion be a waste. Although we all love games like Wordle, mobile games have a history of being content light and micro-transaction heavy. It would be a shame to see the official ‘Squid Game: The game’ (I'm indulging my imagination here) end up stuck on small screens.
In a blog post, Netflix’s VP of Game Studios Amir Rahimi seemed to allay these fears and hint at more traditional games— claiming that the studio aims to build “a world-class games studio” making games with “no ads and no in-app purchases.”
Netflix has the advantage of world recognized IPs, but it must bear in mind the cautionary tale of Amazon’s attempts to join the games industry. Amazon Game Studios launched to a whimper in 2020 with numerous canceled projects and a damp squib of a debut game in Crucible.
Where these games will be found is also up in the air, will they be sold individually on consoles and PC or as part of the Netflix launcher under its subscription service? Time will tell, but one day gamers could live in fear of the judgmental automated message: "Are you STILL playing Netflix?"
If you're looking for something to play now, our How to editor Peter is loving No Man's Sky some six years after its release, and Tony Polanco has basically taken up citizenship in Cyberpunk 2077's Night City.