Netflix Gambles On Gaming As It Looks To The Future

With an ever growing battle between the streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney – to name just three – subscriber numbers have begun falling at points as people across the planet work through their favoured series and then move on, but with cost of living and the cost of energy increases, others are simply cutting back on what they deem as unnecessary expenditure whilst they wait for things to settle again.

Having had subscriber issues of their own, not least the worst kept secret on the planet and the internet with people sharing their passwords with friends, those they like to chill with and family, whatever gains Netflix feel they might have made with their more recent account changes to encourage a little more honesty, and produce a little bit more revenue instead of suffering a total loss on shared accounts, remains to be seen – but their Board also moved in a different direction, as they had previously acquired some small gaming companies as they looked to move into that profitable sphere.

One of which was Oxenfree developer Night School Studio, but this week the California based, United States company announced that it is now going a step further and creating its own studio from scratch.

Their new venture will be based in Helsinki, Finland and will be headed up by former Zynga and Electronic Arts executive Mark Lastikka, who obviously has significant experience in that world and having co-founded the Zynga studio (also Helsinki based) FarmVille 3 was worked on under his leadership.

For those who like gambling on the future of tech, you may well find decent odds on the likes of about how successful this venture could be when we look to the more distant future, as Lastikka clearly has the background, and Netflix clearly have the money to throw at this in order to make it a success.  Plenty will feel it is a bit of a roll of a dice on the roulette wheel though.

Netflix Vice President of Game Studios, Amir Rahimi, said in a recent blogpost to announce the decision.

“Today, I’m excited to announce that we are establishing an internal games studio in Helsinki, Finland, with Marko Lastikka as the studio director. This is another step in our vision to build a world-class games studio that will bring a variety of delightful and deeply engaging original games — with no ads and no in-app purchases — to our hundreds of millions of members around the world.”

He added.

“This will be a games studio that we build from scratch, and our second games studio in Helsinki alongside Next Games, which became part of Netflix earlier this year. Along with Night School Studio and Boss Fight Entertainment, these four studios, each with different strengths and focus areas, will develop games that will suit the diverse tastes of our members.”

As Rahimi acknowledged himself, it is very ‘early days’ for the venture and where the company would ultimately like to exist in a few years time, but it is certainly a bold move from the tech giant given the current temperature in the streaming market, with additional and new challenger rivals popping up, and should their vision here prove to play out correctly, it would certainly become an additional draw over their competitors if they decided to combine a streaming and gaming service for subscribers in the future.

Having announced a loss of 200,000 subscribers back in April, a first quarterly loss since 2011, the share price of the company plummeted by 35% which amazingly wiped more than $50 billion off their market value.  Having also lost just under a million users between April and July, they will no doubt be hoping that this helps bolster the share price and they can again start building on their 220 million worldwide customers once more.