Netflix to launch mobile games division

Originally published at: Netflix to launch mobile games division | Boing Boing


Business as usual.

What do you call a streaming television company that is making mobile games?

No longer a company that is leading the industry in streaming television.

This sort of move is a bad, bad sign for Netflix. Like every corporation, they only care about maximizing profits, and not how they are shitting on their customer base with every profit-motivated decision they keep making. Spending money and time on mobile games is absolutely a dumb idea. They are jumping into a saturated market and it’s likely just going to siphon money away from their streaming service without improving their bottom line.


That was exactly my reaction, too. Seems like it’s the beginning of the end for Netflix.

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This is the first game studio they’ve set up, rather than purchased, but Netflix has actually had a mobile game division for a while now. They bought up a number of small studios starting at least a year ago, and there’s been a “game” section in the mobile app for a while, where there’s an increasing selection of games to play (with no in-app purchases or other costs). Like most everything else they do, they didn’t exactly publicize it very well, so it was easy to miss and no one has been playing the games, apparently. Which is kind of too bad, as they have some games that also came out in non-mobile versions that are pretty good.

They’ve been doing this for a while, but their investment in games is still quite modest. They’re not doing AAA gaming, it’s low-budget mobile games, so they can produce a whole heck of a lot of them for the cost of a single “indie”-level movie, much less a video series. I don’t know if they know what they’re doing, but this is really not more than just dipping their toe into this so far. They’re not so invested they can’t just drop it all if it’s not going anywhere.

Still, I do feel a bit miffed about it, as I subscribe for video, not games, and I just don’t play mobile games, so I’m hoping this effort doesn’t expand.

Now do Disney free-to-play on Epic and studios in Macau! Stay in your artisinal triple-sec lane and make Big Game Hunt properties, Disney!

Bit of a difference given Disney has been making video games since 1981, and has far deeper and more solid financials with none of the customer flight Netflix has been facing lately. Plus has endless numbers of franchises to hang titles off of.

Netflix has… Stranger Things. Not. Much. Else. Really does feel like Netflix is throwing a Hail Mary here and hoping for a new revenue stream. But sure, you’re right, other media companies also launch game branches. Maybe Netflix game studios will be the new Lucas Games. I’m not sure I see it, though.

My, I guess I should have targeted Tencent Pictures and CCTV Nanhai Studio instead. We’ll see who can make games fit in under 5 GB and roll resilient cryptography for their users, I guess. [Pulls out paper-mache mock of 160-degree FOV ASUS gaming phone with 5 micro-SD slots and 2 SIMs, plus underslung debug screen.]

Mobile surpassed console and PC in audience size and revenue a long, long time ago. Console gamers would never concede to this, but they are a dying segment and will be a footnote in history in a few more years.

To be clear, I do not think this is a good thing. The business model of mobile games is monstrous. I spent 10 years deep inside that industry and I still try to scrub it off every time I shower. Bad people use evil psychology to take your money and don’t care if you have fun. None of them have ever read a book on game design.

I’m gonna miss the days when you paid once for a thing and then got to have that thing.


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