Netflix is reportedly planning to add video games to its subscription service within the next year.
The news comes from Bloomberg, which reports that Mike Verdu has been hired as vice president of game development. Verdu formerly worked for publisher EA and for Facebook bringing games and content to their Oculus VR headsets.
Verdu’s hiring suggests Netflix may be looking at developing its own games, as well as licensing existing titles to their service – much like they do currently with TV and film.
The Bloomberg report suggests that games will appear alongside current programming and will be included at no additional cost.
Moving to games would give Netflix a point of difference compared with rivals Amazon Prime and Disney Plus, providing a boost to subscriptions.
Gaming could also be an accompaniment to market existing programmes, as well as justification for potential price increases further down the line.
No doubt Netflix has seen the success of Xbox Game Pass and other gaming streaming services.
Google’s Stadia recently announced that it will be giving developers a cut of revenue based on how often their game is played.
As reported by Gamasutra, developers will receive an increased share of Stadia subscription revenue based on engagement, measured in session days.
It’s a clear move for Stadia to attract more developers to its service and, in turn, more users.
However, its implications for gamers are worrying. Longer, drawn out games with endless content, or online games as services, could proliferate in an effort to make more money.
What’s more, indie developers focused on shorter experiences could see their work devalued.
Netflix is already known for its algorithmic programming, creating new shows based on the interests of its user base. Should it follow suit with gaming, this could impact the creativity of developers in an eagerness to provide value for money for its customers.