Multiple companies have tried their hand at streaming games directly to players and now streaming giant Netflix is seemingly going to take a stab at it, too. Netflix VP of Gaming Mike Verdu stated that the streamer was “seriously exploring a cloud gaming offering.”
As reported by TechCrunch, Verdu spoke about adding on to Netflix’s existing game lineup with an option that streams games directly to the player.
“It’s a value add,” he said. “We’re not asking you to subscribe as a console replacement. It’s a completely different business model. The hope is over time that it just becomes this very natural way to play games where wherever you are.”
This is odd timing, given how Google recently announced that Stadia would be closing after just about three years. Verdu mentioned Stadia, saying that the problem wasn’t the technology, but the business model itself. Stadia had a locked ecosystem where users had to buy games separately on that system and could only stream them. Stadia Pro was later introduced and was a subscription service that gave subscribers a handful of games each month — somewhat like PlayStation Plus Essential — that were theirs as long as they kept up their subscription.
“Stadia was a technical success,” said Verdu. “It was fun to play games on Stadia. It had some issues with the business model, sure.”
Verdu didn’t commit to releasing a controller, as Amazon Luna and Stadia both have their own. However, he did say that Netflix currently has 55 games “in flight” and is developing some original games. He noted that he wants to have a balance of games that are 50% Netlfix IP. As of now, the service has a few games based on Netflix shows like Nailed It! and Stranger Things, but it is mostly made up of titles from other non-Netflix properties.
Verdu also revealed that Netflix is opening a new studio in California that will be led by Chacko Sonny, who was most recently at Blizzard Entertainment. Sonny left Blizzard in September 2021 amidst the various lawsuits and allegations plaguing Activision and Blizzard. Anonymous sources told Bloomberg that he was a “stabilizing force” and “well-respected” within the studio. Verdu also said it was remarkable that Sonny was choosing to work with Netflix.
“He could have done anything, but he chose to come here,” said Verdu. “You don’t get people like that coming to your organization to build the next big thing in gaming unless there’s a sense that we’re really in it for the long haul and in it for the right reasons.”