Netflix has struggled over the past year to retain and grow its subscribers, and as many more people are canceling their paid subs to the service, the streaming platform looks to be going the way of Blockbuster. I’m being hyperbolic, of course, but it is in danger of becoming less relevant amidst all of the other streaming providers that have cropped up to challenge it as of late.
Netflix Original Games
In response to this, the company has brought on several games to pad your monthly benefits and is even going to continue taking your money while showing you ads. Its latest foray into salvaging said business is to establish its own game studio to create a long-term investment into developing first-party titles for its users to enjoy.
Apparently, Netflix has set up a studio in Helinski, Finland, and hopes to make “world-class” games that feature no ads or in-app purchases. I just need to say this now – I don’t believe for one second that this model is sustainable for several reasons.
Predicting failure is easy
First and foremost, the company is among the top media providers in the world, and all of its larger-than-life competitors both in the video and now the gaming space rely exclusively on ads and in-app purchases like loot boxes to supplement their business models.
Second, Netflix, as previously stated, is about to start injecting ads into its paid subscription tier, which I find absolutely unacceptable, despite it becoming a recent trend. Lastly, and probably most importantly, Netflix has brought on “some of the best game talent on the planet” in the form of Marko Lastikka, who formerly worked at EA and Zynga.
For those not familiar with the gaming industry, Zynga was once the world’s first perpetrator of the in-app purchase craze back when the iPhone first came out, and EA is still one of America’s most hated companies thanks to its shady micro-transaction practices. If Mr. Lastikka has learned anything in his time at both companies, it’s likely that these traditions rake in boatloads of cash from unsuspecting victims.
Could ‘The Netflix of Games’ end up being Netflix itself?
My hope is that he sees the error of these ways and wants to start fresh, creating experiences that rival and conflict with the current state of the very things that are poisoning the gaming industry. According to sources, Netflix’s game studio won’t produce something for public consumption for several years as it hunkers down and creates something entirely from scratch.
Needless to say, I’m not very excited about this, and I think that it’s a bold and obvious move for a failing subscription service that once reigned supreme. Games both bring in and cost more money to develop than the movie, and music industries combined, and what once was something people laughed at is now a rescue boat for sinking corporate suits.
If Netflix does end up pulling this off, I don’t think it will remain successful as others rise up to challenge it with similar gaming subscription models. Keep in mind that things like Nvidia GeForce NOW and Xbox Game Pass already exist and have found great success in what they do. Despite this, none of these services have become the “Netflix of Games” – a term coined by gamers – or have offered everything for one price. How funny would it be if Netflix ends up being exactly what others have tried for years to create?