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- Netflix launched its video game streaming service in November 2021, investing in mobile app games.
- The streaming giant has since purchased multiple development studios and increased gaming-focused staff.
- The pivot to interactive streaming comes as Netflix’s growth has slowed to single digits.
As Netflix chases younger audiences and grapples with keeping its current subscribers content, the streaming giant has fixed its sights on a new chapter: video games.
As competitors like HBO’s Max and Disney+ have launched and rebranded in recent years, limiting the number of offerings available on Netflix as each network creates its central hub of content, the OG-streaming service has had to pivot once again to thinking of its next chapter, this time investing heavily in the world of interactive entertainment.
In late 2021, Netflix began dabbling in creating its mobile app games. The company brought on dozens of new hires and created a dedicated studio in Helsinki, Finland, to create new streaming game titles, Insider reported.
On Wednesday, Netflix released its latest title, a graphic adventure game developed by Night School Studio, called “OXENFREE II: Lost Signals.” The sequel game to the hit supernatural thriller point-and-click is available on Netflix’s mobile app and Steam, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch.
Representatives for Netflix did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The pivot to video games comes as Netflix’s growth has slowed tremendously — according to records kept by Stock Analysis, the company’s annual growth had never been below 12% until last year. In 2022, though revenue was at a record $31.62 billion, the company ended its year with just 6.46% growth, down from 18.81% in 2021 and 24.01% in 2020.
It remains unclear whether Netflix’s latest venture will succeed, especially with other companies like Google shuttering its own game streaming service after less than three years, but the company has pioneered before: In 2007, Netflix spearheaded the entire entertainment industry’s switch to streaming.
So far, Netlfix’s slow and steady pace, especially compared to its competitors, appears to be working to its advantage with creators, The Ringer reported.
Night School Studio was Netflix’s first gaming studio acquisition, purchased in September of 2021, a month after the streamer launched two pilot games that were tie-ins to the “Stranger Things” series, TechCrunch reported.
“We’ve seen many players come into the space and attempt to take a big swing,” The Ringer reported Sean Krankel, founder of Night School, said this week. “[We heard] early on that the approach was going to be very careful and measured and that it would not be, ‘Let’s climb to the top of the mountain and plant a Netflix flag in there and [say] we’re changing the industry.'”