Image: NurPhoto (Getty Images)
In the wake of the recently announced, completely unavoidable collapse of Google Stadia, launching a new streamed game service might seem a little brave. But if you’re Netflix, you definitely have some infrastructure in place. The streaming giant has made clear its intentions to jump into this space. And indeed announced that it is opening a new game studio headed by former Blizzard exec, Chacko Sonny.
For a long time, cloud streaming games (letting you play a game over an internet connection on technology stored elsewhere) was a goal many have failed to score. From OnLive to Microsoft’s Mixer, to Google’s Stadia, it’s a graveyard of failures. But Netflix is apparently still willing to step over the corpses.
According to Protocol, Mike Verdu, Netflix’s VP of game development, spoke on TechCrunch Disrupt yesterday and said, “We are looking very seriously into any cloud gaming offering.”
It’s not exactly a surprising move. Netflix has been stepping into the gaming space for some time now, buying up companies like Oxenfree developers Night Dive and publishing dozens of mobile games, including the excellent Into The Breach. Recently, Netflix paid for mobile development of Sam Barlow’s latest FMV title, Immortality. But despite being a company best known for streaming TV and movies on your television, their gaming offerings are all made up of completely separate mobile downloads. Tying the two together clearly makes sense.
Well, it makes sense in a universe where video game streaming has once been a roaring success. Despite being offered in various forms by Xbox’s Game Pass Ultimate, Sony’s PlayStation Plus (which is taking over PlayStation Now), Amazon’s Luna, and Nvidia’s GeForce Now, none have become an explosive breakthrough, rendering home consoles obsolete. And the recent embarrassing flop of Google Stadia will certainly have deterred many others from snooping around the market.
G/O Media may receive a commission
Read more: How do you play Netflix’s surprisingly great games?
Stadia’s failure is easily attributed to Google’s one-hit wonders product lives, but it’s important to note that it was an attempt to offer true game streaming independent of any other service. Where the versions of the consoles, you know, the console, and GeForce Now piggyback on your own previously purchased game collection, this aborted attempt was the “Netflix For Games” we’ve long been promised. So maybe it only makes sense that the next attempt to realize it comes from Netflix itself.
Protocol says Verdu wants a slow, careful approach, “the same way we did with mobile.” With 35 mobile games already out, and another 55 on the way according to a recent earnings report, it would be a bit silly not to try.
TechCrunch quotes Verdu as saying that Netflix would not want to compete with consoles, but rather that “it adds value”. And as for Stadia? Verdu attributes this to “business model problems.” The technology was there, he claims, but it didn’t reach the customers. However, Verdu would not be happy if Netflix would develop its own controller.
In the same panel, Verdu revealed that Netflix is opening its own game development studio in Southern California, led by former Overwatch executive producer, Chacko Sonny, who left Blizzard for “some time off” during the 2021 uproar at the company that Cosby was following. gate. “He could have done anything, but he chose to come here,” Verdu said at the conference. “You don’t get people like that into your organization to build the next big thing in gaming unless we feel like we’re really in it for the long haul and for the right reasons.” The goal is to have half of the games published by Netflix in the future have their own IP.
Heck, when games appear next to the movies on my Netflix menu, and I can play them right on the TV screen, I’m not saying no! And given the company’s focus on mobile gaming, it’s a much lower technical demand than trying to run top-quality AAA blockbusters with next to no latency.