Netflix Is About To Drop A Lot More Games This Year

Netflix is apparently quite bullish about the future of games on its platform and aims to have a catalog of nearly 50 mobile titles ready by the end of 2022. According to a report from The Washington Post, the company aims to drastically expand its current slate of 18 mobile games and plans to add around 32 titles by the end of this year. Netflix is also looking for repeat successes in expanding content opportunities with video game titles beyond the games themselves.

The streaming giant first announced plans for its gaming ambitions in July 2021 when it roped high-ranking executives with a history at big names like EA and Facebook. A few months later in November, Netflix publicly announced that pilot testing has commenced in a few markets on the Android platform. Expansion to iOS and availability in more markets followed soon after. 

Netflix has been playing an odd back-and-forth game here. On one hand, the studio has turned successful original franchises like Stranger Things into games, while on the other hand, it has adapted blockbuster games like League of Legends into original content such as Arcane. Netflix hasn't broken down the game engagement metrics but has suggested that the adapted content from games such as The Witcher, Castlevania, Dragon's Dogma, and Arcane has proven quite popular. Plus, games can prove to be a differentiating factor in the face of deep-pocket rivals and offer cord-cutters an added incentive for choosing Netflix.

Games to the rescue against stagnating growth

One might think that Netflix is trying to milk the cash cow dry from every possible avenue, somewhat like Rockstar Games and its Grand Theft Auto franchise. It could be that Netflix needs cash to support its grand content ambitions that include big-budget projects with A-list talent, especially in the face of Apple's Oscar-winning streaming service and Amazon Prime Videos, both of which are spending big bucks on marquee films and TV series.

Netflix is no stranger to making top-notch content, but the company's business isn't really seeing explosive growth. On the contrary, Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022 and expects to bleed another 2 million in the next quarter. As shares plunge to their lowest point in the last five years, Netflix is losing the confidence of investors as well as employees. Offering free games to its mobile subscribers can inject some much-needed financial vigor.

In-app purchases can be a sure-shot way to maintain a steady income, in the long run. Moreover, an engaging game can keep up the viewers' interest in the source (or linked) material available as a movie or TV series. It's a feedback system of mutual benefits, but there's no guarantee that it is going to work for every franchise. Netflix, on the other hand, is growing desperate. Netflix's top executives have also hinted in their recent earnings call that an ad-supported tier can't be ruled out, and that password sharing is really, truly hurting the company's finances.