Netflix expands into cloud games, opens new studio in Southern California • TechCrunch

At TechCrunch Disrupt, Netflix’s Game Manager Mike Verdu brought two pieces of news about the streaming giant’s foray into the game. Verdu says that Netflix is ​​”seriously exploring a cloud gaming service”. The company will also open a new gaming studio in Southern California.

“It is an added value. We don’t ask you to sign up as a console replacement,” Verdu said on stage. “It’s a completely different business model. Over time, hopefully it will become a very natural way to play the game wherever you are. “

Companies like Stadia and Amazon’s Luna play the same thing, trying to sell video games that people can play even if they don’t have expensive gaming computers or beloved consoles. But these services have struggled to gain mainstream user adoption.

Verdu argues that these products are struggling because of their business model, not the technology.

Mike Verdu, Vice President of Gaming at Netflix speaks on “whether game streaming can go mainstream” at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco on October 18, 2022. photo: Haje Kamps / TechCrunch

“Stadia is a technical success. It’s fun to play games on Stadia,” Verdu said. “It certainly has some problems with the business model.”

Both Stadia and Amazon Luna offer dedicated controllers – but Verdu discreetly says whether we can expect a Netflix gaming controller in the future.

However, he did reveal that Netflix is ​​stepping up its game development by opening an in-house studio in Southern California. This is the company’s fifth studio – just last month, Netflix store arrangement in Helsinki, Finland, with a former GM Zynga at the helm. Others include The Next Game, Night studio and Boss Fight Entertainment, each designed to develop games that cater to different tastes.

The new California studio will be led by Chako Sonny, the former executive producer of “Overwatch.” At Blizzard Entertainment, “Overwatch” was a huge success, grossing billions of dollars. Sonny announced start from Blizzard last year following an SEC investigation into sexual harassment and discrimination at the dominant game company.

Verdu said: “He could do anything, but he chose to come here. “You wouldn’t bring people like that to your organization to build the next big thing in gaming unless there was a sense that we were really in it for the long term and for good reason. “

Since announcing its foray into gaming, Netflix has developed 14 games in its own studios and currently has 35 games on the service. These games include native IP-based experiences like “Stranger Things” as well as licensed IPs like “Spongebob Squarepants”. Netflix is ​​also developing original games.

Over time, we expect that balance to be like 50% of Netflix IP,” Verdu said.


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