Netflix Exploring Cloud Gaming to Bring Titles to TVs and PCs, Will Establish In-House Games Studio in Southern California

Netflix is just over a year into its active push into games — and it’s doubling down on the strategy.

Netflix’s VP of games Mike Verdu, speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt 2022 conference Tuesday, announced that the streamer was “seriously exploring” introducing a cloud gaming offering to be able to extend its catalog of games to be playable on TVs and PCs.

“We’re going to approach this the same way we did with mobile, which is start small, be humble, be thoughtful, and then build out,” he said at the event. “But it is a step we think we should take to meet members where they are, on the devices where they consume Netflix.”

Verdu, a former exec at Electronic Arts, Facebook and Zynga who joined Netflix last year, also revealed that the company plans to build a new studio in Southern California. He said Chacko Sonny, the former Activision Blizzard executive producer behind “Overwatch” who previously oversaw development of “God of War” at Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Santa Monica Studio, is bringing his next game project to Netflix.

“We are building a team around him and looking to him to reinvent what games can be” on Netflix, said Verdu.

A Netflix rep confirmed the plans but had no further additional info.

In announcing Q3 earnings Tuesday, Netflix said it now offers 35 mobile games — and that it has 55 more in development, including those based on Netflix franchises. All the games are included with every Netflix subscription without in-game ads or in-app purchases. The theory is that the games provide additional value to the core Netflix streaming-video subscription, and therefore reduce churn.

“[W]e’re seeing some encouraging signs of gameplay leading to higher retention,” the company said in the shareholder letter. “More generally, we see a big opportunity around content that crosses between TV or film and games.” According to Netflix, after the launch of the anime series “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” (49 million hours viewed) in Q3, gameplay of CD Projekt’s “Cyberpunk 2077” game surged on PCs.

Last month, Netflix announced that it was opening its first internal games studio in Helsinki, Finland, led by former Zynga and EA exec Marko Lastikka as studio director.

exploring cloud gaming, and 2) building an internal games studio in Southern California.

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