As we found out last week, television slinging livestream service Netflix are planning to start offering games this year. My head was filled with visions of controller-based Witchering alongside Netflix's second season of their The Witcher TV show. Alas, you don't need to start sharpening your silver sword (or your controller) just yet. Netflix say they're starting out by focusing on mobile games, actually.
In a shareholders letter, Netflix confirm what we heard last week about their plans to pack games in with all their usual programming. "We view gaming as another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original films, animation and unscripted TV," they say. "Games will be included in members’ Netflix subscription at no additional cost similar to films and series."
What kind of games though? It sounds like Netflix may have plans to take things slow. After dipping their toe in with the interactive show Bandersnatch and commissioning a Stranger Things spinoff, Netflix are looking at phone screens for their first self-made games.
"Initially, we’ll be primarily focused on games for mobile devices," Netflix say. "We’re excited as ever about our movies and TV series offering and we expect a long runway of increasing investment and growth across all of our existing content categories, but since we are nearly a decade into our push into original programming, we think the time is right to learn more about how our members value games."
Further down in their report, Netflix dig into who exactly they're competing with for the eyeballs of viewers. Unsurprisingly, games do show up in a fashion. "In the race to entertain consumers around the world, we continue to compete for screen time with a broad set of firms like YouTube, Epic Games and TikTok (to name just a few)," they say.
Also last week, references to the PlayStation-exclusive Ghost Of Tsushima and a shark icon were datamined in the Netflix app. Those images have since been removed, and were possibly placeholder, but could potentially point to some kind of partnership between Sony and Netflix—via their console applications, perhaps.
However the wind blows on game development itself, Netflix remain rather interested in gaming as a concept. They've now got two Witcher series and an animated film on the way, the recent Resident Evil show that Alice B says is actually amazing, the League Of Legends show, and an absolute ton of other video game spinoffs.