Video games in the cloud are one of the big bets in the industry today. Examples of success such as Xbox Cloud Gaming are attracting the attention of companies and that is why Netflix is “seriously exploring” implementing this business model.
During the TechCrunch Disrupt 2022 conference, Mike Verdu, vice president of games at Netflix, mentioned that this offer represents “added value” for gamers, asking them to put aside the consoles; however, he did consider that over time it will become a “very natural way to play wherever you are”.
“We’re going to approach (cloud gaming) the same way we did mobile, which is start small, be humble, be thoughtful, and then build. It is a step that we believe we must take to reach members where they are, on the devices where they consume Netflix, “said Verdu.
For many video game companies, cloud gaming is the future. According to a study carried out by Google and the consulting firm specializing in gaming, Newzoo, in 2020 there were 14.2 million users who paid for a streaming service in the cloud, while in 2021 the figure rose to 23.7 million, which demonstrates its accelerated acceptance.
However, in attempts to enter this model some companies have failed, such as Google, which recently closed its cloud gaming division, called Stadia.
In this regard, Verdu pointed out that this effort had been built on a solid base of technology, but that its gaps were mainly commercial. “Stadia was a technical success. It was fun to play on Stadia, but it had some issues with the business model, for sure,” he said.
Netflix to open a new video game studio
The executive announced the opening of a new in-house studio in Southern California, which will be headed by Chacko Sonny, former executive producer of Blizzard’s popular game Overwatch.
“You don’t get people like that coming into your organization to build the next big thing in gaming unless there’s a sense that we’re really in it for the long haul for the right reasons,” Verdu said of Sonny’s addition; however, it should also be remembered that he left Blizzard after the investigation of sexual harassment and discrimination in the company.
This will be the company’s fifth studio and the first to be based in the United States, as the others are in Finland. So far, the company has 35 games available on its service and despite the fact that they do not plan to give up on these efforts.
Verdu also pointed out that they have 14 games in development and these include experiences from their original properties, such as Stranger Things, as well as licensed products, such as SpongeBob SquarePants. “We hope that over time the balance will be 50% for Netflix IP,” he concluded.
These announcements came shortly after Netflix announced the recovery of 2.41 million subscribers in the third quarter of the year, in addition to beating analysts’ expectations for revenue.