Netflix plans to set up its own gaming studio

The streaming giant has had its sights set on gaming for some time now (Sam Pak on Unsplash)
The streaming giant has had its sights set on gaming for some time now (Sam Pak on Unsplash)

Netflix is making good on plans “to build a world-class games studio”.

Based in Helsinki, Finland, Amir Rahimi, VP of Game Studios, announced the decision in a blog post, highlighting that it’s part of a string of moves from Netflix.

Having already launched Netflix Games, which offers around 25 mobile games within Netflix’s existing app, and acquired smaller studios like Oxenfree developer Night School Studio, Next Games, and Boss Fight Entertainment, Netflix is now asserting itself as a wannabe player in the gaming industry.

The new division will be led by former Zynga and EA executive Marko Lastikka, who has led teams working on titles like Farmville 3 and SimCity BuildIt, both mobile games.

Night School Studio, now part of Netflix Gaming, is also known for its mobile offerings, suggesting that Netflix is focusing on the mobile gaming market, at least in its early years.

The game-development scene in Helsinki is thriving, making it a logical place for Netflix to set up shop.

It seems that Netflix will also be sticking to releasing games within its streaming platform, promising a continuation of no ads and no in-app purchases.

The grandfather of streaming seems to be hoping that these gaming offerings will keep users on its platform, after suffering heavy subscription losses, while competitors like Disney Plus continue to rise.

In April 2022, Netflix announced a loss of 200,000 subscribers, the company’s first quarterly loss since 2011. Its share price also fell by 35 per cent, taking away more than £46.5 billion from the firm’s market value.

While gaming alone doesn’t seem like it would be enough to manage subscription losses amid the cost-of-living crisis, perhaps it’s a sign that Netflix wants to diversify.

If successful, we could even see an entirely separate platform dedicated to gaming. After all, Netflix used to be a DVD rental service before streaming took over the entertainment space.

Still, it might be a while before we actually see the fruits of Netflix Gaming’s labour.

“Creating a game can take years, so I’m proud to see how we’re steadily building the foundation of our games studios in our first year, and look forward to sharing what we produce in the coming years,” wrote Rahimi.