Netflix Eyes Cloud Gaming

Netflix is exploring an expansion from downloadable titles to full-fledged cloud gaming, according to a recent protocol report on the company’s job listings. While cloud gaming is a logical move for the streaming giant and its massive audience, Netflix’s tardy entry could prove a tough obstacle.

Small Beginnings
Netflix dipped its toes in gaming last November by offering games integrated into the Netflix app. Subscribers could download and play these largely indie titles.

  • Netflix is planning to have around 50 games by end of 2022
  • Hits have included tie-ins like Stranger Things: 1984 & Stranger Things 3: The Game
A Drop in the (Really Big) Bucket
Determining whether or not Netflix’s gaming efforts have been a success is hard to say.  Less than a percent of its subscribers are playing; but with over 220 million subscribers, that translated to 2.9 million game downloads in July. 
  • Xbox Game Pass has about 25 million subscribers
  • PlayStation Plus has around 48 million
  • GeForce Now recently passed 10 million
Why Choose Netflix?
That’s the question the streaming company will have to answer. There’s no denying the advantage of having many times more subscribers already. Will it jumpstart its service by initially offering it for free? Otherwise, Netflix has very limited gaming experience, while its competitors have had years to iron out bugs. 
It’s a Different Game
Gaming is a different beast from streaming. Netflix powered its way to streaming dominance by spending mountains of money with limited regard for quality.
  • For every Witcher, there were several miserable shows like Resident Evil

This reliance on shovelware (think bargain bin) will not work in gaming. Netflix needs quality hits if it wants to compete with other services, let alone replace the humble video game console or gaming PC. This means spending big money at a time when the company is shedding subscribers and cutting costs (and workers).

The good news here is for game developers who will have another platform to shop their creations to. Peripheral manufacturers will also undoubtedly be happy for new customers.

Featured Image: Courtesy of Netflix