Netflix’s video game push sees few subscribers playing along

Netflix is accelerating its push into video video games with plans to double its catalog of choices by the top of the yr, however for now, few of the streaming large’s subscribers are playing.

Since final November, the corporate has been rolling out the video games as a technique to maintain customers engaged between present releases. The video games are accessible solely to subscribers, however need to be downloaded as separate apps.

The video games have been downloaded a complete of 23.3 million instances and common 1.7 million each day customers, based on Apptopia, an app analytics firm. That’s lower than 1% of Netflix’s 221 million subscribers.

The significance of video games to Netflix’s total technique has arguably elevated in latest months as the corporate faces intensifying competitors for consumer consideration. In the second quarter, Netflix misplaced almost 1,000,000 subscribers, after dropping 200,000 subscribers through the first quarter — its first subscriber declines in additional than a decade.

In a letter to shareholders final yr, Netflix named Epic Games and TikTok as amongst its greatest rivals for folks’s time.

“One of the many advantages to Netflix in pursuing the strategy is the ability to drive engagement beyond when the show first comes out on the platform,” Prosek Partners analyst Tom Forte mentioned.

Still, Netflix Chief Operating Officer Greg Peters mentioned final yr the corporate was “many months and really, frankly, years” into studying how video games can maintain clients on the service.

“We’re going to be experimental and try a bunch of things,” Peters mentioned through the firm’s fourth-quarter earnings convention name. “But I would say the eyes that we have on the long-term prize really center more around our ability to create properties that are connected to the universes, the characters, the stories that we’re building.”

The firm’s present catalog of 24 game apps covers quite a lot of genres and Netflix exhibits, comparable to “Stranger Things: 1984.” Several are modeled after widespread card video games, comparable to “Mahjong Solitaire” and “Exploding Kittens.”

The catalog will develop to 50 video games by the top of the yr, together with “Queen’s Gambit Chess,” based mostly on the hit Netflix collection, in accordance an organization consultant.

Intentionally obscure

Netflix has been cagey about the way it plans to make video gaming a core a part of the corporate’s technique, fairly than merely a aspect pastime.

“We’re still intentionally keeping things a little bit quiet because we’re still learning and experimenting and trying to figure out what things are going to actually resonate with our members, what games people want to play,” Leanne Loombe, Netflix’s head of exterior video games, mentioned throughout a panel on the Tribeca Film Festival in June.

Netflix hinted earlier this yr that it’ll license widespread mental property for its new gaming additions.

“We’re open to licensing, accessing large game IP that people will recognize,” Peters mentioned in January. “And I think you will see some of that happen over the year to come.”

Netflix tapped outdoors builders for its present catalog, however has acquired three video game builders up to now yr.

All of that provides as much as rising funding. Netflix hasn’t disclosed how a lot it is spending to develop its video game phase, however the efforts are capital-intensive. Netflix’s acquisition of Finnish developer Next Games value the streamer about $72 million.

Forrester analyst Mike Proulx famous that Netflix has been investing in gaming slowly, and that it nonetheless seems to be what he would take into account “more of a test and experiment at this stage.” He famous that most individuals do not affiliate Netflix with video games.

So far, obtain figures for Netflix video games fall far in need of the main cellular video games — Subway Surfers, Roblox and Among Us, for a few — which every have greater than 100 million downloads, based on Apptopia. Still, downloads have slowly climbed since May, after a downward pattern that began in December.

“We’ve got to please our members by having the absolute best in the category,” Netflix co-CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings mentioned in January. “We have to be differentially great at it. There’s no point of just being in it.”

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