Netflix is continuing its growth into the world of video games by now announcing that it is making its own internal games studio.
The streaming platform confirmed that the new setup will be established in Helsinki, Finland, with former EA and Zynga general manager Amir Rahimi stepping in as studio director. Rumours that Netflix would be "rapidly expanding" more into games became apparent in August when a new job listing revealed its intentions.
"This is another step in our vision to build a world-class games studio that will bring a variety of delightful and deeply engaging original games — with no ads and no in-app purchases — to our hundreds of millions of members around the world," said Netflix vice president of game studios Amir Rahimi (via a blog post (opens in new tab)).
This is the second developer in Helsinki now owned by Netflix, following the company's purchase of Next Games for $72 million in March earlier this year. It also picked up Oxenfree maker Night School Studio in 2021.
Netflix confirmed that it's still "early days" for the studio and, therefore, it's unlikely we'll see anything for at least a couple of years. That said, Netflix has subsequently revealed a new update for those that do play games via its mobile app.
From today, the ability to create game handles has been rolled out in an attempt to create a more "personalised gameplay experience" on the platform. This allows users to create a unique public username that can be seen across all Netflix titles. To do this, those on iOS must download Rival Pirates or Lucky Luna before being prompted to select a handle, whereas those on Android need only to head to the games tab on the navigation bar where they will find the option.
"This feature is only the beginning in building a tailored game experience for our members around the world. We’ll continue to adapt and evolve our service to meet the needs of our members..." said Netflix product manager of mobile games Sophie Yang.
As PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo dominate the gaming space, is Netflix now trying to get a slice of the market for itself? Or is it just trying to incentivise subscribers to not cancel? We'll have to wait and see just how committed the company is to games to find out.
In the meantime, a recent survey revealed why people were cancelling Netflix subscriptions with one in four saying they are thinking of leaving before the end of the year. Netflix, meanwhile, just confirmed a ton of new release dates for its best shows, so maybe that will persuade people.