Netflix confirms adding video games to member subscriptions

Netflix fans will have more to view, as the video streaming service confirmed it’s adding video games as a free add-on for subscribers.

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On Tuesday, Netflix said it will offer video games to its existing subscribers at no extra cost, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The video streaming giant did not reveal when that launch will occur, or what games it will be developing, the website reported.

The move is a way for Netflix to put distance between it and competitors like Disney+, Bloomberg reported. Video games are a multibillion-dollar business, the website reported.

The company, in a shareholder letter released ahead of its Tuesday earnings call, said the video games would be “primarily focused on games for mobile devices,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“We view gaming as another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original films, animation and unscripted TV,” the shareholder letter stated. “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.”

Video games are not a new concept for Netflix. The company announced a video game based on its 2019 original series, “Stranger Things,” CNN reported.

Netflix’s net gain of 5.5 million subscribers through the first six months of 2021 is its weakest first-half performance since 2013, according to The Associated Press.

Netflix COO and chief product officer, Greg Peters, said in Tuesday’s earnings interview that the company’s goals for its gaming offerings would be to extend Netflix’s reach, create standalone games and license games to help “increase the volume” of Netflix’s library, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“It’s a multiyear effort. We’re going to start relatively small. We’ll learn, we’ll grow,” Peters said. “Our subscription model yields some opportunities to focus on a set of game experiences that are currently underserved by the sort of dominant monetization models in games. We don’t have to think about ads, we don’t have to think about in-game purchases or other monetization, we don’t have to think about per-title purchases. Really, we can do what we’ve been doing on the movie and series side, which is just hyper, laser-focused on delivering the most entertaining game experiences that we can.”

Netflix foreshadowed its move into video games last week when it announced the hiring of Mike Verdu, a veteran video game executive, Bloomberg reported. Verdu had been Facebook’s vice president in charge of working with developers, bringing games to Oculus virtual-reality headsets, the website reported.

“The reason we’re doing (video games) is to help the subscription service grow and be more important in people’s lives,” Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings told investors during a Tuesday discussion.

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