Netflix Might Release A Gaming Streaming Service, But It Isn't Trying To Replace Your Console
Whereas Google Stadia billed itself as a console replacement, Netflix is trying something else.
Netflix is pushing deeper into the world of video games. It has 55 new games in development and now owns five internal game development studios. What's next for Netflix's big gaming push? It could be a streaming service not unlike Google Stadia or Amazon Luna.
Netflix gaming boss Mike Verdu said at a TechCrunch event this week that the company is "very seriously exploring a cloud gaming offering" for TV and PC. Netflix already releases games on mobile, but this new service would seemingly target those additional platforms.
"We'll approach this the same way we did with mobile, which is start small, be humble, be thoughtful, and then build out. But it is a step we think we should take to meet members where they are, on the devices where they consume Netflix," Verdu said, as reported by VGC.
Fans may roll their eyes at yet another gigantic technology company trying to make waves in the gaming space with a streaming offering, but Verdu believes any streaming platform for games from Netflix would be complementary to the existing Netflix experience. In that way, it would stand apart from the likes of Google Stadia, which billed itself as a console replacement.
"Stadia was a technical success. It was fun to play games on Stadia. It had some issues with the business model. I look at the technology and say it worked," Verdu said. "For us, delivering games to your TV and your PC, it's value add. We're not asking you to subscribe as a console replacement, so it's a completely different business model. The hope is over time that it just becomes this very natural to play games wherever you are."
Verdu said Google took a "really bold gamble" with Stadia, adding that he believes it would be unfair to call out specific examples of how he believes Stadia stumbled.
As for whether or not Netflix could one day release its own gaming controller to go along with its potential streaming service for games, Verdu said there is no news to reveal right now.
In 2019, before Netflix launched its new Netflix Games offering, the company said it had no plans to release a game-streaming service.
In 2011, Netflix announced plans to offer Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii games for rental by mail, though it scuttled these plans not long after announcing them. At the time, the company said it was "still considering" offering games to rent by mail but this never happened.
In the initial Qwikster announcement, Netflix CEO and founder Reed Hastings himself spoke about how enthusiastic the Netflix audience was for games. "Members have been asking for video games for many years, and now that DVD-by-mail has its own team, we are finally getting it done," he said.
That never happened, but there has been a resurgence in interest in gaming at Netflix of late. Netflix Games offers members a catalog of mobile games for free, with no ads or microtransactions. Netflix recently opened a new internal studio headed up by a former Overwatch and God of War veteran.