Netflix is ​​accelerating its foray into video games, planning to double its catalog of products by the end of the year, but so far most of the streaming giant’s subscribers aren’t playing.

Since last November, the company has rolled out games as a way to keep users engaged between show releases. The game is only accessible to subscribers, but must be downloaded as a separate app.

According to app analytics firm Apptopia, the games have been downloaded a total of 23.3 million times and are used by an average of 1.7 million users per day. That’s less than 1% of his 221 million subscribers on Netflix.

Gaming’s importance to Netflix’s overall strategy has undoubtedly increased in recent months as the company faces increased competition for user attention. lost nearly 1 million subscribers in the second quarter after losing 200,000 subscribers in 2018. The number of subscribers decreased for the first time in more than 10 years.

In a letter to shareholders last year, Netflix named Epic Games and TikTok as one of its biggest rivals in people’s time.

Prosec Partners analyst Tom Forte said, “One of Netflix’s many advantages when pursuing a strategy is its ability to drive engagement beyond when a show first hits the platform.

Still, Netflix chief operating officer Greg Peters said last year that the company spent “months, frankly, years” learning how games keep customers in service.

“We’re experimental and we’re going to try a lot of things,” Peters said on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call. You could say we’re focused on our ability to create properties that relate to the universe, characters, and stories we’re building.”

The company’s current catalog of 24 game apps includes a wide variety of genres and Netflix shows such as Stranger Things: 1984. Some are modeled after popular card games such as “Mahjong Solitaire” and “Exploding Kitten”.

According to company representatives, the catalog will grow to 50 games by the end of the year, including “Queen’s Gambit Chess,” based on the hit Netflix series.

intentionally vague

Netflix is ​​cautious about plans to make video games a core part of its strategy rather than just a sideline.

“We’re still learning and experimenting, trying to figure out what really resonates with our members and what games people want to play, so we’re intentionally keeping it a little quieter,” he said. , Leanne Loombe, head of Netflix External Games, said during a panel at the Tribeca Film Festival in June.

Netflix hinted earlier this year that it would license popular intellectual property for new game additions.

“We are open to licensing and have access to large-scale gaming IP that people can recognize,” Peters said in January. “And I think some of that will happen over the next year.”

Netflix has used outside developers for its current catalog, but has acquired three video game developers in the past year.

All of this leads to increased investment. Netflix has not disclosed how much it is spending developing its video game segment, but the effort is capital intensive. Netflix’s acquisition of Finnish developer Next Games cost the streamer about $72 million.

Forrester analyst Mike Proulx says Netflix is ​​slowly investing in games and appears to be looking at “more testing and experimentation at this stage.” He pointed out that most people don’t associate Netflix with gaming.

So far, Netflix’s game downloads have fallen far behind major mobile games Subway Surfers, Roblox, and Among Us. — Over 100 million downloads each, according to Apptopia. Still, downloads have been slowly rising since May after his downward trend that started in December.

Netflix co-CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings said in January, “We have to please our members by offering the best in this category.” You have to be there. Just being there doesn’t mean anything.”

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