Netflix Expands Games Initiative with a New Studio in Finland

Netflix has made some budgetary cuts recently, but not in gaming. After three acquisitions, the company is building its first game studio from scratch. The new unit will be Netflix’s second gaming outfit in Finland, and the company has hired Zynga’s Marko Lastikka to run it. Earlier this year, the streamer acquired the Helsinki-based Next Games. The company’s mobile games portfolio also includes developers Boss Fight Entertainment in Allen, Texas and Glendale, California’s Night School Studio. Helsinki “is home to some of the best game talent in the world,” according to Netflix VP of game studios Amir Rahimi.

“This is another step in our vision to build a world-class games studio,” the goal being to create “deeply engaging original games — with no ads and no in-app purchases” for Netflix members, Rahimi wrote in a blog post.

According to Statista, Netflix is clocking just over 220 million global subscribers this year. Since segueing into mobile games in November 2021, Netflix has added “dozens of titles” to its mobile games catalog, writes TechCrunch, which says the streamer “aims to have more than 50 titles in the lineup by year-end.”

This year, Netflix earnings reports have indicated the company’s first subscriber losses, totaling roughly 200,000, triggering an $80 billion cap diminution. Earlier this month, the company was reported to be implementing cuts in staffing, overhead and other expenses. But apparently the Netflix feels gaming is a good investment albeit a long-term play, as Rahimi blogged.

Netflix has said it hopes to add 500,000 million new subscribers by 2023.

“So far, however, the company hasn’t seen outsized demand for its games,” TechCrunch writes, citing mobile analytics firm Apptopia’s recent finding that “Netflix games were only averaging 1.7 million daily users and its total catalog had seen just 23.3 million downloads as of August.” But the outlet acknowledged the streamer has an expansive “vision for gaming” that “stretches beyond” one-off licensing deals.

In related news, Netflix says it has added the game “Oxenfree: Netflix Edition,” an update on the popular supernatural mystery thriller that subscribers can download on iOS and Android devices. according to TechCrunch. The original game was created by Night School Studio.

And Mobile Gamer reports that Ubisoft has agreed to create three new exclusive titles for Netflix, “most notably, there’s another ‘Assassin’s Creed’ game in the mix.”

Related:
Netflix Has a Bold New Plan to Make You Love Its Games, TechRadar, 9/27/22
Netflix Launches Game Handles for Users of Its iOS and Android Mobile Games, TechCrunch, 9/27/22
Cyberpunk 2077 Surges After Netflix Anime Debut, Axios, 9/26/22
Netflix Is Releasing a New Mobile Game Based on Its Popular Bake-Off Show ‘Nailed It!’, TechCrunch, 9/21/22
Best Netflix Mobile Games 2022, Android Central, 9/19/22