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Brief Published: 19 Jul 2021

Netflix Accelerates Gaming Push

The Witcher

Netflix is expanding beyond film and TV to include video games (now a $300bn+ market globally) within the next year. The streaming platform has formalised its intentions with the hire of former Electronic Arts and Facebook executive Mike Verdu and game-development-related job listings on its website.

As Stylus has charted previously, Netflix has already benefited hugely from gaming fandoms through adaptations of popular games like fantasy action role-playing game The Witcher, which amassed 76 million household viewings. Furthermore, 7.6% of the platform's upcoming TV adaptations will be based on video games.

Meanwhile, gaming giants like Microsoft are themselves leaning heavily into subscription and cloud gaming services, as the global cloud gaming market is projected to expand at a CAGR of 48.2% from 2021 to 2027 (Grand View Research, 2021). At gaming conference E3 2021, Microsoft announced the Xbox Game Pass smart TV app, which lets Game Pass subscribers stream games directly to their connected TVs.

If Netflix manages its expansion into gaming effectively, it could become the go-to destination for interactive storyworlds, building on ambitions we've seen in interactive storytelling projects like sci-fi/drama Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018) and child-friendly choose-your-own-adventure Puss in Book (2017). That said, this would be no mean feat – Disney, for instance, has historically struggled to gain a foothold in the gaming world.

For more, see Entertainment in the 5G Era.

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