Netflix reportedly intends to enter the video game market | Netflix

Apple, Microsoft, Sony and Google have all attempted to create a “Netflix for games” offering unlimited access to a library of titles for a monthly fee. But a growing number of reports suggest they could be on the verge of stiff competition from the streaming company itself.

Netflix has approached senior executives in the gaming industry to join it to lead the creation of a subscription-based gaming service, according to reports from the Tech News site. information and Reuters.

Video games are not completely foreign to the streaming service. It has licensed some of its internal properties, including Stranger Things and The Dark Crystal, to developers to create related games in the past. And the company has produced a growing line of “interactive movies,” including Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend, which use simple video game mechanics and moderate interactivity to create an accessible experience.

These movies and games were the company’s first attempts to hit the market, and a Netflix representative said user response was positive. “Members also like to engage more directly with stories they love,” said a spokesperson, “through interactive shows like Bandersnatch and You vs Wild, or games based on Stranger Things, La Casa de Papel [Money Heist] and to all the boys. So we’re excited to do more with interactive entertainment.

However, the new offering is still in its infancy, with executives focusing on Apple Arcade as a potential competitor. Users of this service, exclusive to Apple iPhones, iPads, Macs and AppleTV, pay a flat monthly fee of £ 4.99 to access a library of downloadable games, spanning genres and target audiences. Apple imposes strict rules on developers, prohibiting them from monetizing their games through in-app purchases or advertising, in an attempt to keep Arcade a premium service.

A key decision that has yet to be finalized is whether a games subscription service would also require Netflix to develop games on its own. Apple Arcade is fully populated by third-party developers, but other game subscriptions rely on proprietary exclusives to generate signups. Microsoft, with its Game Pass service, and Sony’s PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus are tempting users with access to hits like Halo and God of War. Google’s attempts to enter the market, with its video game streaming platform Stadia, have been relatively unsuccessful, a fact attributed by many to the lack of exclusive titles.

Likewise, Netflix has yet to decide whether its games service will use streaming technology, like the one developed by Stadia and used by some Microsoft and Sony services, or create apps to download to devices.

In any case, the company will have to fight. Apple, in particular, has strongly objected to game companies creating subscription services on its platform. In its high-profile clash with Fortnite creator Epic Games, the iPhone maker found itself trying to explain why it wouldn’t allow companies like Microsoft to sell their own game subscriptions on the App. Store, even if it let Netflix sell TV subscriptions. .

The emails published in this case revealed how desperately Apple tried to keep Netflix offering in-app purchases for its subscriptions. But if the streaming service enters the game as a relatively new player, the balance of power would be reversed and Apple might find it much easier to dictate terms.

Netflix remains a force to be reckoned with, however. The company reached over 200 million subscribers in January of this year. Microsoft’s Game Pass, on the other hand, has a little over a tenth, to 23 million.

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