Netflix has acquired Spry Fox, a Seattle-based independent gaming studio focused on cozy games, the streaming giant announced on Monday in a blog post. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Spry Fox is now Netflix’s sixth in-house games studio.
Amir Rahimi, the vice president of game studios at Netflix, said in the blog post that the acquisition will help Netflix accelerate its creative development in another popular genre.
"Our games journey has only just begun, but I’m proud of the foundational work we’ve been doing to build out our in-house creative capacity so that we can deliver the best possible games experience — including no ads and no in-app purchases — to our members as part of their membership," Rahimi said in the blog post.
Spry Fox was founded in 2010 by David Edery and Daniel Cook. The games studio is known for popular titles like "Triple Town," "Alphabear" and "Cozy Grove."
“When David and I founded Spry Fox twelve years ago, our goal was to create a place where kind, creative people could make beautiful, original games in a supportive environment that brought happiness to the people who played them,” said Daniel Cook, co-founder of Spry Fox, in the same blog post. “After many heartfelt conversations, we are all excited about joining Netflix as an in-house game studio and building amazing games together.”
Today's announcement comes a couple weeks after Netflix VP of gaming Mike Verdu revealed onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt that the company is opening a new gaming studio in Southern California. Last month, Netflix established an internal games studio based in Helsinki, Finland, led by the co-founder and general manager of the Zynga Helsinki game development studio, Marko Lastikka.
Netflix has noted that it’s still early days for its mobile gaming efforts, and new games can take years to build, which indicates that its long-term vision for mobile gaming goes far beyond the more casual gaming releases it has made available to subscribers since launching Netflix Games in November 2021.
The streaming giant's recent developments in gaming studios will help bolster its efforts toward gaming, especially considering that it still has to convince its subscribers that it's a real player in the world of gaming. Recent data from Apptopia found that Netflix games were only averaging 1.7 million daily users and its total catalog had seen just 23.3 million downloads as of August, despite Netflix’s overall subscriber base then having 221 million members.
It's worth noting that Netflix’s vision for gaming goes beyond the one-off deals with studios it’s made to license games for its catalog, as its recent announcements have indicated.
Also at TechCrunch Disrupt, Verdu revealed that Netflix is “seriously exploring a cloud gaming offering.” Google’s Stadia and Amazon’s Luna have made the same play, but these services have struggled to attain mainstream user adoption, and Google is shutting down Stadia in January. Verdu said he believes these products struggled due to their business models, not the technology itself.
Netflix has 14 games in development in its own studios and has 35 games on the service now. In total, Verdu said it has 55 games “in flight” at present.