The cloud gaming market continues to expand on the backs of Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Nvidia, but it looks like a new listing is on the way. According to a new report, Netflix intends to add games to its streaming catalog in the not too distant future, but the expansion will start with games on mobile smartphones.
Update 7/20: Netflix has confirmed its game plans and clarified that cloud games will not be in focus at least to start.
Bloomberg reports that Netflix seems to be starting to make video games playable through the streaming platform “over the next year” with the games appearing right next to TV shows and movies already available to Netflix subscribers. Apparently, Netflix does not plan to charge its customers for this content.
The idea is to offer video games on Netflix̵7;s streaming platform over the next year, according to a person familiar with the situation. The games, along with today’s fare, appear as a new programming genre – similar to what Netflix did with documentaries or stand-up specials.
To get things off the ground, Netflix has hired Mike Verdu, a former employee of Electronic Arts and Facebook. On the latter, Verdu was a VP tasked with working with game developers to bring games and other content to the Facebook-owned Oculus VR headset. At EA, Verdu played a role with titles such as Sims, Star Wars and Plants vs. Zombies. The gaming department on Netflix will be further developed “in the coming months” with some roles being announced on the company’s website.
Apparently, some files buried in the Netflix app for iOS have also hinted at this upcoming offering. As our colleagues at 9to5Mac point out, this could pose a challenge for the streaming giant when it comes to the Apple App Store, which has so far turned down cloud game offerings from Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Nvidia.
It is still unclear at this time which games will be available via Netflix or on which devices, but “in the usual Netflix way” the library can start with “only a few games.”
Update 7/20: Netflix has just confirmed in an investor letter (via The Verge) that it will really add games to the library, but the expansion does not start with cloud games. Rather, Netflix will start the journey with mobile games for smartphones and tablets. The company explains:
Games will be included in members’ Netflix subscriptions at no extra charge such as movies and series. Basically, we will primarily focus on games for mobile devices. As always, we are happy with our offer of movies and TV series, and we expect a long run with increasing investment and growth in all our existing content categories, but since we are almost a decade into pushing into original programming, we believe the time has the right to learn more about how our members value games.
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