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Netflix’s New Interactive ‘Game’ – Mobile Gaming or Interactive Videos?

Gaming Console and Controller
Published on Jul 30, 2021

Netflix has been at the forefront for many years as the primary mode of streaming platforms. It changed the entire game of how people viewed television and movies, and over the last year, it has managed to rope in 203.66 million subscribers (Backlinko), which is nearly double of what it had in 2017. Other streaming services also emerged as competition over time such as Amazon and Disney, and they began to offer multiple shows and movies on their platform as well. With multiple viewing platforms available as options, people had the choice to pick which ones they wanted to opt for. This slowed down the subscriber growth at Netflix, and it began to find different ways in which it could make itself the leading, primary streaming platform again. 

Enter the gaming world. Interactive games such as Fortnite and PUBG had players engaged for hours from all around the world, and Netflix examined the amount of time people spent on such platform and decided that it was time to take that market on, no holds barred. 

Netflix has hinted at starting its own gaming services available for its subscribers as a way of providing more video-based content to its existing and new users. What does Netflix mean when it says it is starting to branch out into gaming? How will it work? Read on to find out how the platform is trying to take over the video streaming world and revolutionize it once again.  

The Launch of the Netflix Gaming Saga – What it Means?

Netflix has hinted at branching out into the gaming industry recently as a means of increasing its subscriber count and creating a brand new revenue stream for itself. People have been gaming for years, but in the last year, because of the pandemic the number of people who started engaging with multiplayer and online gaming skyrocketed. Once people were stuck at home all day, there was only so much banana bread they could bake. They needed a way to interact socially, and online gaming provided them that from the comfort in the safety of their homes.  

Fortnite recorded its highest jump in number of players from 2019 to 2020, going from 250 million to 350 million players (Statista), and the pandemic restrictions had a lot to do with it. While Netflix faced a slower growth rate because of other competitors joining in the movie and television streaming market, the Fortnite business grew exponentially. Netflix decided to take a page from their book and now it is going to tap into the gaming market as well. 

Fortnite record

So what type of a gaming experience is Netflix trying to create for its users? How will it be made available for all? What are the conditions? 

Netflix Launching Mobile Gaming or Interactive Videos? 

Netflix might not go all out into gaming first. If you can remember the Black Mirror movie, Bandersnatch, provided users with a more interactive way of watching the episode. People could not zone out, and were active participants in how the show ended. Even though there were limited endings, the audience was thoroughly engaged and loved being a part of it. When viewers felt like they had more agency in how the episode could end, they actively engaged with the content and watched it.  

The immersive viewing experience took the internet by storm for a while, and within 24 hours people had spammed platforms like Reddit with complex flow charts, theories and all the complicated story lines that the creators had developed. Most people treated this immersive viewing experience like a video game and Netflix reports showed that 94% of viewers ( The Hollywood Reporter) were actively interacting with the episode and spent anywhere between 90 minutes and 2 and a half hours watching that episode.  

Clearly, it was a big hit. Now, Netflix is planning on creating more immersive video experiences like Bandersnatch as a way of engaging their audiences even more with their content. They will also be creating their original video gaming content that comes from Netflix owned intellectual property as well as from other independent studios. 

Portable gaming

How Can Users Play on Netflix? 

Netflix is planning on starting out its gaming services on mobile only. This move makes sense as they already have a mobile application and provide separate subscription plans for users who are using mobile streaming options. The level of engagement created on a mobile platform as compared to an application that requires a console is a lot higher. Mobile gaming obviously made more sense for their users. There will be no other application load on your smartphones and you can directly log in to your Netflix account to start playing. 

The Purpose Behind Netflix Starting Gaming Services

Market research and data analytics services have showcased that people are engaging more and more with video content as time passes. Creating interactive visual experiences for viewers is key to keeping one’s audiences engaged. This is true for more than just video streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+.  

Companies across industries have observed that they receive more engagement with their brand when they create and put out engaging content – and what better way to engage than with videos? 

Netflix record

What Netflix is essentially trying to do is create more and more value for its users. During the first quarter of 2020, with the start of the pandemic, Netflix recorded an increase of nearly 16 million subscribers. It had expected to reach an increase of 6 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2021, but the numbers fell short of 2 million subscribers, recording3.98 million (Variety) new subscriptions. Since Netflix realized that the other competitors offering similar services had slowed down its growth, it wanted to create a better experience for its users, which is why it opted for gaming. 

What is Netflix Thinking? 

Netflix is going beyond just online streaming, even with the way it is looking at competitors. Netflix has two other platforms it considers as its biggest competitors, YouTube and Fortnite. It wants to create value in a way no other platform can, and focus on engaging as many people for as long as possible. If Netflix becomes a singular platform that provides multiple viewing experiences, it will be unlike any other platform that exists in the market today – which is what it is going for. 

At What Cost? 

None! Well, none additionally at least. Users will be able to access Netflix gaming with their subscription at no extra cost. Apple and Google have also launched their own subscription-based online gaming platforms, but users have to pay an additional fee to access them, which is something they won’t have to do on Netflix.  

What it Means for the Gaming Industry?

Netflix is here to completely change the mobile gaming industry for sure. Users do not have to download additional applications or pay additional fees in order to access gaming services, which is a huge bonus in terms of consumer experience. It creates a hassle-free user experience at no extra cost. Netflix has approached this move in a very dynamic way, and it will cause waves in both the gaming industry and the video streaming industry.  

For now, since Netflix is only planning on offering mobile gaming services, console gaming is still, quite safe. But two years from now, five years from now… who’s to say? Maybe Netflix will take over the entire visual experience. 

Netflix will probably succeed at this adventure because, let’s be honest – we want to get everything possible as a unified experience. Taking the least amount of steps to get the most amount of services is the biggest benefit any platform can offer to its user or customer, and Netflix is providing this seamless experience to its consumers time and time again.

Netflix to enter game market

Another aspect that will probably get users more involved in this experience is that it comes at no additional cost. Essentially, if you have a Netflix account, you can watch movies, television and soon you will be able to play games too – all for one price. This provides a huge advantage to Netflix over its competitors. There is nothing like it that exists in the market today, and Netflix has no plans of stalling its streak of innovation anytime soon!