Why Netflix needs to be careful with its video game adventure amidst rumors of making live-service titles

Netflix must avoid the mistakes big names have made in the video game industry (Image via Netflix)
Netflix must avoid the mistakes big names have made in the video game industry (Image via Netflix)

Netflix is rumored to be looking for new personnel who have experience with live-service video games. The rumors are a result of a LinkedIn post for the said purpose. In the overall context, the fresh job posting is not surprising, given how bullish the entertainment giant has been about gaming in general. The platform has been consistently adding new games to its mobile app.

A dedicated section now welcomes viewers and allows them to spend time playing those titles. So far, Netflix has followed a model similar to Google Play Pass and the Apple Arcade. When someone tries out any available option, they can get the complete experience. There's no microtransaction or fee required to unlock part of those games.

Hence, it's quite bold that Netflix could be trying new things in the future for video games. While such decisions can be rewarding in the long run, it will also need to be careful.


Netflix must avoid mistakes other players have made in the video game industry

Any form of competition is always beneficial for consumers. Netflix's aim to come into mainstream gaming is wonderful news for gamers. However, caution must be exercised as the streaming giant plans to expand its roadmap for the future.

Amazon is one of the biggest names in the world of commerce. The American giant is well known for its dominance in several sectors, but even it has struggled with video games. There hasn't been any lack of investment, and the company has pumped billions into new projects.

New World started in an adventurous manner but then fizzled out quickly. Few can remember the numbers Lost Ark garnered despite being released in limited regions. The figures came down quickly, although the game has worked better than New World.

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Amazon hasn't given up on its gaming ambitions yet, and will continue with New World and other projects, hoping it hits the jackpot. However, recent news of the division laying off 100 posts indicates that everything isn't okay.

Netflix's introduction to the video game industry is much smaller in scale. Some will even say that this pragmatic approach could be beneficial in the long run.

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Regarding IPs, there's no shortage in the hands of the entertainment giant. It can easily pick major hits from its vast collection of monthly originals. Some of these can be converted into successful live-service titles if Netflix's intentions are as such.

The difficult task will be to go for proper execution. Amazon's biggest mistake has not been its ideas, but how it has proceeded with them. Lost Ark is a partnership with Smilegate for global distribution, but it was only released in selected regions. A greater audience will certainly have helped the case of an MMORPG that relies entirely on live service.

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Then there's the case of the canceled Lord of the Rings title, which adds to Amazon's long list of disappointments. The scenario clearly warns Netflix that a valuable IP doesn't necessitate success.

The company has struggled with finances over the last two years. It has changed its account-sharing model to salvage some lost revenue. So far, investment in the gaming sector has been small.

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However, developing video games, especially good ones, does cost money. At a time when finances have been tight, the company cannot afford to make bad decisions. Up until now, its gaming ambitions have been minor in scale. The titles available as part of someone's monthly subscription are limited in numbers, but have some quality names.

Live-service video games have had their fair share of controversies. Some in the community intensely hate them due to their in-game practices, which can happen even if the actual gameplay is good. As such, going down that path will require brave decisions along the way. Netflix will certainly have to match ambitions with pragmatism if it wants to find success in the new domain.