Netflix flirts with the gaming community

It looks like Netflix is ​​in stealth mode, considering a possible entry into the gaming realm. According to several media outlets, Netflix was looking for an executive to lead an expansion in video games. In addition, Information said on May 21, 2021 that Netflix was discussing the possibility of presenting a bundle of games much like Apple’s online subscription platform, Apple Arcade.

A quick search by INTERACTIVE-MARKETING found that before that, the streaming platform had already dipped its toes into interactive shows such as “You against Savage“and”Black mirror: Bandersnatch“, among others. Currently, the gaming and esports arena is an extremely large space, with a lot of opportunity and potential. From a content perspective, Netflix has the connections, the platform and the experience creating, distributing and licensing great content.

Leo Tsui, chief commercial officer of DDB Hong Kong, said moving from being a provider of on-demand movies and shows to being a provider of on-demand entertainment can be seen as an organic next step for Netflix. However, there are some differences in how content streaming and game streaming work. “It would be crucial to have the right expertise, investment and patience to develop it. Understanding these factors, it is important to note whether this is a wise move for Netflix,” he said. -he declares.

However, the main overlap between Netflix and esports is in the content. “If Netflix sees content as an entry point, it would be interesting to see how it integrates its existing expertise into the space,” Tsui said. There are already historical media platforms that are dedicated solely to esports, which are produced and managed by event organizers.

“If Netflix as a media platform comes in the same way and adds to the space, that would be a point of interest. Besides the content, obviously in the game streaming space, Google’s Stadia offers great learning moments, and as they among others like Apple, Microsoft or Nvidia are further developing the technology and service models, I’m sure that Netflix can enjoy being the second mouse that gets the cheese, ”Tsui added.

With the streaming market becoming saturated, getting into the game is clearly a way for Netflix to pave the way for growth and audience retention. Many articles have been written about the stagnant number of Netflix subscribers. On the other hand, the gaming industry has seen strong revenue growth, accelerated by the pandemic, which is expected to continue in the years to come.

Tsui added:

Time is running out and for Netflix there are much more experienced competitors who are aiming for the same space.

According to a spokesperson for games and esports data firm Newzoo, with Netflix’s interactive experiences, it has already forged significant relationships with top game companies. The series for Castlevania, DOTA 2, The witcher, etc League of Legends generated considerable interest from each of its player bases. Netflix also occasionally licenses its IP for games, such as Strange things. As such, the streaming giant has already positioned itself as a strategic storytelling partner for video game franchises looking to expand their knowledge.

Now, with the rise of subscription and cloud gaming services, Netflix can integrate a range of gaming offerings into the same app as its streaming content, easily having one of the largest install bases. of the game ecosystem.

“Gamers, like many consumers, are stuck in their ways, so easing the transition can be very profitable,” Newzoo said. “If Netflix can adapt this technology to games, that could be a huge benefit,” Newzoo added.

Providing additional services to existing consumers will increase the time spent on Netflix and make it much “stickier” as a platform, explained Tom Simpson, SVP AdColony, APAC. This clustering effect is similar to Amazon Prime’s idea of ​​combining streaming and e-commerce.

Beyond that, looking at the fastest growing entertainment category makes perfect sense.

He said: “Netflix observed as early as its 2018 results that they” compete (and lose) Fortnite more than HBO, “noting that its biggest competition for consumer attention is not from other platforms. forms of streaming, but online games.

Through play, communities come together, to create value and an audience that brands simply cannot ignore.

“Getting into the game seems like an inevitable decision for Netflix – I’m just surprised it took them so long,” Simpson added.

Possible challenges Netflix might face

But the gaming community is not a community that can be bought easily. To really stand out, Netflix needs to show its support for the grassroots gaming community that has made space what it is to gain the favor and adoption of the developer community, Tsui explained. These developers keep a close eye on who they want to reach, regardless of which studio partners or independent developers Netflix has in mind.

Newzoo said the two main pitfalls to avoid are to avoid the allure of personal development and self-publishing, and to meet fans’ expectations of beloved intellectual property. With gambling being an exceptionally competitive business, expectations are always high when there is a large company behind them. This means that meeting these expectations is almost an “impossible task”.

In the past, Netflix has demonstrated its willingness to go against fans’ wishes in some of its adaptations such as Death threat, The witcher, Destiny: The Winx Saga. To appeal to successful gamers, Netflix will need to strike the right balance between broad appeal while maintaining the spirit of the game, NewZoo explained. Newzoo added that die-hard fans are sensitive to the way big companies treat their favorite franchises.

“Netflix’s strategy of releasing consistent content has been reflected in successful live games, but developing a video game is not the same as developing a TV series,” Newzoo warned.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

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