Netflix is a phenomenally successful streaming platform, and it practically invented the industry. However, its first-mover advantage has been eroding for a while now, as wealthy rivals like Amazon and Disney eat into its market share.
The old adage, change or perish, is extremely relevant in the tech world. A competitor’s innovations could suddenly put you out of business if you are not careful.
Netflix is determined to change and has identified video games as the strategy it needs to flourish. Will it work? Let’s dig in and find out.
Netflix Might Add 30 More Mobile Games in 2022
Back in November 2021, Netflix announced in a blog post its diversification into video games. It started with five mobile games available on both iOS and Android devices at no extra cost if you have a Netflix subscription.
Now, according to a report from The Washington Post, Netflix will add approximately 30 new mobile games to its library by the end of 2022. This will bring its total catalog to approximately 50 mobile games by the end of the year.
Why Is Netflix Betting on Games?
Netflix has said before that games like Fortnite are its biggest competitor for on-screen time, not other streaming services.
Netflix believes the time spent gaming, especially by young adults, is time spent not streaming a movie and can be counted as lost revenue. Incredulously, Netflix founder and co-chief executive officer Reed Hastings even added sleep to the list of Netflix competitors.
According to The Washington Post, “Netflix is looking to build out a games business that can create synergy between what people watch and what they’re playing.” This makes sense since it is possible to stream Netflix on several gaming consoles, the technology is already there.
However, that’s not the only reason. Netflix has been going through a rough patch and it’s partly because of the changes it’s made. These changes might be the reason why Netflix has no choice but to go big on gaming.
Netflix Is Losing Subscribers
Netflix started losing subscribers in the first three months of 2022, but the company’s problems didn’t start there. As reported by MSN, Netflix users in the US and Canada declined by 400,000 in early 2021, indicating an overall slowdown.
Then, after the US imposed sanctions on Russia after it invaded Ukraine in 2022, Netflix suspended its service in Russia, losing 700,000 subscribers.
Password Sharing Is Affecting Netflix’s Bottom Line
Many Netflix users share their passwords with friends and family. We estimate that about 73 million users engage in this practice worldwide, and this is a huge drag on the platform’s revenue. Perhaps more mobile games would entice these users actually to pay for a Netflix subscription?
It’s a possibility. However, it’s not clear this will work, as mobile games are probably not exciting enough to push a password freeloader to shell out some dollars for a subscription. After all, not everyone likes mobile games and some people believe Netflix’s mobile games suck. The company would have to introduce some real blockbuster games into its library to have an impact.
Gaming Is on the Rise
Meanwhile, according to a report from Mordor Intelligence, the Gaming Market was valued at $198.40 billion in 2021 and will be worth $339.95 billion by 2027.
Video games aren’t going anywhere, and mobile games have become increasingly popular over the years. As of 2021, there were 3.9 billion smartphone users around the world, and people spent over $116 billion on mobile games. Gaming is witnessing exponential growth, and Netflix sees this as a possible source of growth.
Will Gaming Save Netflix?
The gaming industry is a massive multi-billion dollar business, and there are enough opportunities for Netflix to exploit. However, big players such as Disney and Google have made an effort to get into gaming, only to be rebuffed by more established rivals such as Epic Games and Electronic Arts.
Plus, Netflix might need to focus more on producing quality content to increase its subscriber count. Video games aren’t why people subscribe to Netflix, so the company will need to create incredibly amazing games or improve its content library if it wants to please its users. Or at least it might need to be less restrictive when it comes to password sharing or using VPNs.
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