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Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Sony, Nvidia — all of them are trying to dominate the early and emerging market of streaming games, hosted from powerful servers and broadcast directly to players' screens without the need of a gaming PC or console. But it looks like yet another challenger is approaching this new battlefield, and it has a familiar name: Netflix.
According to a report in Bloomberg, Netflix hopes to offer high-end streaming games within a year, in addition to its well-established library of streaming movies and TV shows. To that end the company has hired Mike Verdu, formerly of Facebook (working in the Oculus VR program) and Electronic Arts. Verdu is the new Vice President of Game Development, a position Netflix confirmed to Bloomberg without commenting on its upcoming plans.
Netflix is an obvious choice for a new entry in the streaming games market, given almost fifteen years of experience in media streaming. The company's own content production has already made an appeal to gamers with productions like The Witcher, Castlevania, and Minecraft: Story Mode. There's no other information on Netflix's ambitions available, but considering its streaming strategy, an all-you-can-play subscription in the vein of Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass would seem like the most natural direction.
Live in Poland
Netflix's gaming ambitions are starting small. Very small. On Twitter (spotted by Polygon) the company announced that users in Poland will be seeing links for two existing games, Stranger Things 3 and Stranger Things: 1984, within the Android app. Both games were already released on Android, but have since disappeared from the wider Play Store. Netflix says that access to them will be included in Polish members' subscription fees, sans any advertising or in-app purchases.
Let’s talk Netflix and gaming.
Today members in Poland can try Netflix mobile gaming on Android with two games, Stranger Things: 1984 and Stranger Things 3. It’s very, very early days and we’ve got a lot of work to do in the months ahead, but this is the first step. https://t.co/yOl44PGY0r
— Netflix Geeked (@NetflixGeeked) August 26, 2021
If simply throwing links to two already-released games into the app seems kind of small time, well, it is. But Netflix says this is "very, very early days," and that a lot more work will be coming in the next few months. Presumably that'll start with expanding these two games to more territories.