Apple, Microsoft, Sony and Google have tried to create a “Netflix for games”, which offers unlimited access to a library of titles for a fixed monthly fee. But a growing number of reports suggest they may be about to face stiff competition from the broadcast company itself.
Video games are not entirely unrelated to the streaming service. It has licensed some of its internal properties, including Stranger Things and The Dark Crystal, to developers to create linked games in the past. And the company has produced a growing range of “interactive movies,” including Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend, that employ simple video game mechanics and moderate interactivity to create an accessible experience.
Those movies and games were the company’s first tentative steps to market, and a Netflix representative said the response from users was positive. “Members also enjoy interacting more directly with the 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 all the boys. So we are excited to do more with interactive entertainment. “
However, the new offering is at a very early stage, with executives targeting Apple Arcade as the potential competition. Users of that service, exclusive to Apple’s 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 sets strict rules for developers, prohibiting them from monetizing their games through in-app purchases or advertising, to try and make Arcade a premium service.
A key decision that has yet to be finalized is whether a game subscription service would also require Netflix to develop games itself. Apple Arcade is entirely run by third-party developers, but other game subscriptions rely on source exclusives to drive subscriptions. Microsoft, with its Game Pass service, and Sony’s PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus tempt users with access to hits like Halo and God of War. Google’s attempts to enter the market, with its Stadia video game streaming platform, have been comparatively unsuccessful, a fact many attribute to a lack of exclusive titles.
Similarly, Netflix has yet to decide whether its game service would use streaming technology, like the one pioneered by Stadia and used by some of Microsoft’s and Sony’s services, or create apps for download on devices.
Either way, the company will have a fight on its hands. Apple, in particular, has been staunchly opposed 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 was not allowing companies like Microsoft to sell their own game subscriptions on the App Store, even while letting Netflix sell subscriptions of TV. .
Emails posted in that case revealed how desperately Apple tried to keep Netflix offering in-app purchases for your subscriptions. But if the streaming service enters gaming as a comparatively new player, the balance of power would be reversed and Apple might find it much easier to dictate the terms.
However, Netflix is still a force to be reckoned with. The company reached more than 200 million subscribers in January of this year. Microsoft’s Game Pass, by contrast, has a little over a tenth of that, in 23 million.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism