Netflix already hosts a number of video game-related programming, including the Castlevania anime and the upcoming Cuphead cartoon. The streaming platform has experimented with interactive content, as well. Netflix’s version of Minecraft: Story Mode allows viewers to shape the story by clicking one of two options at various intervals. In a similar vein, Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch is an interactive movie that takes viewers on a Choose Your Own Adventure-style story.
Netflix recently announced its new video game division, which has a goal of beginning to release content in 2022. The streaming platform will experiment in game development by making games for mobile devices, but further information about the project is limited. This leaves subscribers to wonder what Netflix’s games might look like.
It is possible Netflix’s video games will resemble Bandersnatch and Minecraft: Story Mode, relying on simple, choice-based gameplay. This already-established formula presents a familiar format for Netflix as it develops and tests new ideas. It would also make Netflix’s games easy for subscribers to play, as they wouldn’t require additional hardware. Subscribers already won’t have to pay an additional subscription fee, according to Bloomberg; the games will show up on the homepage, same as current Netflix content.
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There is also a chance Netflix will curate its games for VR. The company hired Mike Verdu, who was vice president of augmented reality and virtual reality content at Oculus VR owner Facebook, as its vice president of game development. If Netflix goes this route, it could bring content to the limited market of VR gaming and establish itself as a dominant presence there, just as it did with streaming a decade ago.
Potential Netflix Game Styles
Netflix could also go the route of cloud gaming, developing titles of its own and licensing games from other studios to be hosted on the site, possibly playable with its own, original controller or third-party gamepads. This is a likely scenario, if the Netflix and PlayStation partnership rumors prove true. The company could host PlayStation games on its platform, possibly even leveraging existing PlayStation hardware for more demanding gaming. The cloud gaming approach could also lead to partnerships with other AAA game companies in the future, enabling Netflix to benefit from a wide selection of established titles.