Would online gamers switch from XBox Live Gold to Netflix to save money and access the same or more games? That’s what the leading streaming service aims to find out, and it could radically alter the landscape of online gaming.
In a letter to investors earlier in 2021, Netflix explained that they “view gaming as another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original films, animation and unscripted TV.” The streaming giant revealed that a future streaming gaming category would be folded into a Netflix subscription, meaning it would not require an additional cost to existing subscribers. It would also be rolled out with a focus on the mobile market initially. Netflix said in the letter, that “we think the time is right to learn more about how our members value games.”
NetFlix appears to want to wedge themselves into the projected $3.5 billion video game streaming market in the United States, which currently includes Xbox, Luna, Twitch, Sony PlayStation.com, Nvidia GeForce Now, and others. With their infrastructure and lead in the streaming entertainment market in the U.S., Netflix seemingly has the chops to be able to challenge for a share of the growing video game market, especially those who enjoy playing on their mobile devices.
With monthly pricing plans ranging from $8.99 to $17.99, Netflix could offer a tempting alternative for gamers who pay $10.99 per month for Xbox Live Gold or $9.99 for PlayStation Plus. Those streaming services have cultivated a community and host hundreds of popular games, something that Netflix will need to build from scratch, but since Netflix has roughly 73 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada, they have a large base to draw on, and many gamers probably already have Netflix accounts. Switching off a rival gaming streaming service to use their Netflix account could be attractive to those subscribers.
Netflix has recently seen a dip in growth, but the service still accounted for 7% of all TV watching in June of 2021, making it a heavyweight in the streaming business. With its award-winning original programming division, it’s also an important entertainment company. While the company did not mention plans to develop their own games, it would make sense for Netflix to pursue that strategy to draw more gamers from potential rivals.
Could Netflix Have An Eye On eSports And Betting?
With their stated intention to enter the video game streaming sector, Netflix begs the question of whether they would eventually offer eSports as entertainment with betting through their service or via a licensed gaming operator. As legalized gambling spreads across the US, and eSports grows in popularity, such a strategy could place Netflix at the crux of a huge market for streamed gaming, content, and betting. In 2020, according to a report by Newzoo, 495 million people watched eSports at least occasionally across the globe.
Younger generations, those following Millennials and Gen X, have less of an attachment to real-world sports and are more open to the idea of eSports competitions, pitting players from around the globe battling in streamed games and competitions. Netflix probably doesn’t want to miss out on what could be the next evolution of sports and sports betting.
There are indications that Netflix may partner with an existing gaming giant, like PlayStation, to jumpstart their streaming gaming efforts. If that’s the case, gamers would see a disruption in the landscape they have now, but with more options, which is exactly what consumers deserve. With Netflix admitting that they wish to focus on the mobile gaming space, services like Google Play and Apple Arcade should take notice.