A few months ago, Netflix officially launched Netflix Games, a new section of their mobile app that features a library of app games that every Netflix subscriber can freely enjoy. Interestingly, this is more than just a simple marketing strategy for Netflix to promote their shows as it seems like the company has bigger plans for this new realm of entertainment they offer. Netflix is indeed expanding its platform. In addition to their growing collection of original films and series, the entertainment giant is heading towards a new direction as they start to venture into a different form of entertainment which is gaming (mobile gaming to be specific).
Last year, Netflix hired high profiled video game executive Mike Verdu as the vice president of their newly formed video game branch. Verdu was a former executive of Electronic Arts and was responsible for various successful video game titles like “The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II” and “Command and Conquer 3” to name a few. He also previously worked with companies like Zynga and Kabam as well as the Oculus division of Facebook (responsible for its augmented reality and virtual reality content). According to Verdu, the company is planning to build a library of games that offers something for everyone.
Currently, Netflix Games is in its early stage that initially offers five app games including two Stranger Things games from BonusXP studio, a couple of casual games from Frosty Pop, and a card game from Amuzo. All of the games are available exclusively for Netflix subscribers and they will not contain any form of advertisements or in-app purchases.
It was recently announced that Netflix entered into a combination agreement to acquire a Finland-based gaming company Next Games. This is a collaboration that will surely provide Netflix Games a great start as the company attempts to enter the gaming industry. Under the terms of the agreement, Netflix will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Next Games. “With a shared vision and passion for games, we are looking forward to welcoming Next Games in a city that is home to some of the best mobile game-makers in the world. While we’re just getting started in games, I am confident that together with Next Games, we will be able to build a portfolio of world-class games,” said Mike Verdu.
Next Games is a game developing and publishing company that is based in Helsinki, Finland. It was founded in 2013 and was led by Teemu Huuhtanen. Next Games is already a well-established company in the gaming and entertainment industry but what really makes them a perfect fit that led to this amazing Netflix acquisition? It is important to note that this is not the first time that Netflix acquired a gaming studio. Last year, the company already acquired Night School Studio, the same team behind the Oxenfree game series and Afterparty.
The answer lies in Next Games’ portfolio. Next Games is specializing in building app games that are based on the world’s most beloved franchises. Some of their works include Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales, a puzzle RPG that features Netflix’s beloved series. They also have well-acclaimed games based on The Walking Dead Series (The Walking Dead: Our World and The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land respectively).
With such an impressive lineup, you can tell that this partnership is a win-win situation for both Netflix and Next Games. Although there is no further announcement yet on what games are they currently working on for Netflix, there are surely a lot of great things to expect. Although there are rumors that Netflix and Next Games are planning to build a Pokemon Go-inspired Stranger Things game which sounds pretty exciting.
Netflix, after all, offers a great collection of series that are absolutely game-worthy. The Squid Game, for instance, has great potential. While there is an overwhelming number of Squid Game-inspired apps on PlayStore today, none of them are officially licensed by Netflix so this would open a door for Netflix Games to develop their own. There are many other interesting titles from Netflix that we would love to see in their gaming catalog including The Umbrella Academy, Cobra Kai, All of Us Are Dead, Riverdale, Sweet Home, and many more.
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