Gaming-on-demand, or game streaming, is possibly the future of gaming, allowing gamers to play their favorite titles without actually owning the gaming hardware, e.g., a PC or a console. While several prominent companies, like Microsoft and Sony, already offer various popular titles through their game streaming services, the world’s largest streaming service, Netflix, is just entering the video gaming race.
We had previously discussed Netflix’s efforts to bring in-house developed gaming titles to its streaming service in our previous article, when the company was reaching to prominent figures in gaming, looking for a potential hire. Well, now they found one. According to Bloomberg, Netflix just made the first significant step towards expansion into video games by hiring a former Electronic Arts and Facebook executive. Mike Verdu, to lead the effort. This means that Netflix is only steps away from bringing video games to its proprietary streaming platform, possibly by next year – as reported by Bloomberg’s anonymous source.
Hiring Verdu was a smart move and one that made many larger game developers and publishers uncomfortable, considering Verdu’s involvement with prominent gaming franchises, like The Sims, Plants vs. Zombies, and Star Wars gaming franchise, which might get another highly-anticipated sequel. However, Verdu will need a team, and Netflix is only months away from assembling one, considering that the company started advertising for game-developer-related positions on its website.
Bringing video games to the platform is a good way to expand your business and lure additional customers, especially in saturated markets, which offer a wide choice of streaming services. But therein lies Netflix’s leverage – none of its direct competitors, like Walt Disney Co., AT&T Inc., Warner Media, and Amazon.com Inc., offer video game streaming as a part of their service. This could help Netflix keep its position at the top of the mountain and help market the existing shows its streaming service has to offer.
Apple Inc. is the exception to the story, as the company sells gaming options in addition to its video services, which cost extra. Netflix previously announced that, unlike Apple, the added gaming option wouldn’t affect the subscription price, at least in the short run. But it will deepen the engagement of its content by increasing time spent on the platform and ultimately increase its appeal and pricing power in the long run. Nonetheless, Netflix isn’t the only one interested in expanding into game streaming services.
Though still in its beta phase, Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming already offers more than 100 gaming titles available to iPhones, iPad, and Windows devices. Additionally, you can enjoy the company’s content by using a standard Xbox controller, Sony’s DualShock 4, Razer Kishi, and many more, with the eventual goal of allowing its customers to play Xbox titles without owning a console.
Netflix has previously licensed the rights to games based on its shows and vice versa, but the company’s newest attempt, which seems to go along nicely, is significantly larger in scope. With the evidence of Netflix’s plans to add games already appearing in hidden files within its app, it won’t be long until Netflix launches its first gaming title.