Netflix is reportedly searching for an executive to head up an expansion into video games, according to a report published Friday by The Information. The report suggests Netflix has approached multiple “veteran game industry executives” regarding the position, which would expand its efforts in video games.
The Information reported that Netflix is considering a “bundle” of games available via a subscription, like Apple Arcade; the Apple bundle launched in 2019 with a number of exclusive (and timed exclusive) games, available for $4.99 a month. Apple has continued to support the platform by adding new games at a pretty consistent pace.
A Netflix spokesperson told Polygon the company is “excited to do more with interactive entertainment.” The full statement is available below.
Our members value the variety and quality of our content. It’s why we’ve continually expanded our offering — from series to documentaries, film, local language originals and reality TV. Members also enjoy engaging more directly with stories they love — through interactive shows like Bandersnatch and You v. Wild, or games based on Stranger Things, La Casa de Papel and To All the Boys. So we’re excited to do more with interactive entertainment.
The streaming platform has experimented with interactive video experiences and video games in the past — in 2018, it published Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, a Choose Your Own Adventure-style movie, followed by a similarly interactive experience in 2020 for an Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt episode. That’s on top of its experience producing series based off video game properties, like Dota, Castlevania, and The Witcher and its spinoffs, as well as upcoming shows based on Magic: The Gathering, Sonic the Hedgehog, and League of Legends.
Netflix has also produced games before — with third-party developers — based off its Stranger Things series: a Stranger Things mobile game and Stranger Things 3: The Game.
Details regarding Netflix’s reported gaming expansion still remain minimal, but it’s been clear over the past few years that the company is interested in new interactive mediums. Netflix subscriptions have slowed over the past year — partially due to delayed production on its original shows — and competition in the streaming space continues to grow. However, the so-called “streaming wars” have been ongoing for years as companies prepared to launch new services, and Netflix said in 2019 that its biggest competition is actually Fortnite, which is what more likely pulls players away from the streaming service.
Fortnite is a video game, yes — but developer Epic Games is also building what is calls “the Metaverse,” a growing virtual world that’s more than a video game. Indeed, Fortnite is now a place where people turn for movies; over the past year, Epic has held multiple movie nights, where players can watch films through a screen in Fortnite, as well as the debut of a Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker trailer.