Just because Netflix is canceling another hit TV show doesn't mean the streaming company isn't investing elsewhere. In fact, Netflix executives' eyes seem to be increasingly averted from TV content and gaming, as evidenced by their latest acquisition.
The company acquires the Finnish game development studio Next Games. The developer has a proven track record in creating mobile games based on entertainment licenses and has already created the gem-matching puzzle RPG Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales, based on the sci-fi horror franchise, one of the best shows on Netflix.
It has also published a number of games based on The Walking Dead, including The Walking Dead: Our World, which uses mixed reality and augmented reality elements similar to those already tested in Niantic's Pokemon Go.
The acquisition is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2022.
"Next Games has an experienced management team, strong mobile gaming experience based on entertainment franchises, and strong operational capabilities," said Michael Verdu, vice president of gaming at Netflix.
“We are delighted to have Next Games join Netflix as a leading studio in a strategic region and key talent market, expanding our in-house game studio capabilities. While we are just getting started in gaming, I am confident that with Next Games we will be able to build a world-class portfolio of games that will delight our members around the world.
"Leveraging our strengths with the world's largest streaming service, Netflix, provides the opportunity for a logical and exciting continuation of our strategy to create interactive experiences for the world to enjoy," added Teemu Huuhtanen, CEO of Next Games.
"Our close collaboration with Netflix on Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales has already shown that together we create a strong partnership."
What Netflix gaming industry buys mean for gamers
While it pales in comparison to Microsoft's €75 billion acquisition of Activision, Netflix's €65 million purchase of Next Games still represents the company's largest investment in games since it announced plans to expand its interactive entertainment production last July.
Should the likes of Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft worry about Netflix eating their gaming-focused lunches?
Perhaps Microsoft, whose purchase of Activision also included King, the company's mobile gaming subsidiary. But otherwise… probably not. Netflix is looking to capture some of an (admittedly large) gaming audience on mobile, but it's an audience that "grassroots" gaming companies are still hesitant about, for the most part.
Instead, Netflix's move sees it maneuvering to diversify its output, as it follows its audience away from their television screens and into the real world on their other devices. Netflix is as much a technology company as it is an entertainment company, and games give it the opportunity to monetize its intellectual property (and existing built-in audiences) in new ways.
When you think about the hype that's going on around the Metaverse (and the apparent investment by the Facebook/Meta giants and Apple with their upcoming headphones), you can see why Netflix would be interested in partnering with a company that's already very successful. entertainment experience. properties to life through AR applications.
Expanding popular franchises beyond a single platform is the best opportunity to make more money from them: in Next Games, Netflix has found a partner that can not only put them on smartphones, but potentially in mixed reality worlds where soon we will be spending our money. time in.
It's worth noting that Finland is also the de facto home of mobile gaming: Clash of Clans developer Supercell is based out of the country, as is mobile gaming veteran Rovio, home of Angry Birds. So there is a pool of local talent that the Netflix gaming teams can tap into to achieve this goal.