Netflix, a global streaming giant that has always pushed the boundaries of entertainment, has recently made waves with its latest venture: a cloud gaming service. In a strategic move to capture the lucrative gaming market, the company launched this service in a limited beta version, marking yet another pivotal chapter in its diversification journey.
For now, the cloud gaming feature is available to a privileged group of subscribers in the UK and Canada. However, wider availability is on the horizon, with the service currently accessible on select TVs and set to debut on PC and Mac in the coming weeks via supported browsers.
As for the games, Netflix is starting with a modest yet intriguing roster. Their test phase supports two titles that cater to a broad audience. The first is “Oxenfree” from Night School Studio, a critically acclaimed supernatural thriller game that seamlessly blends dialogue and gameplay. The second, “Mining Adventure” by Molehew, offers a contrasting experience with its gem-mining arcade style, appealing to those looking for quick-paced fun.
One of the standout features of this beta launch is the flexibility it offers in terms of controls. On the TV front, players can transform their smartphones into game controllers, leveraging familiar touch controls. Meanwhile, traditionalists and hardcore gamers on PC and Mac can stick to the classic keyboard and mouse setup.
Ensuring the service is as inclusive as possible, Netflix has collaborated with leading tech brands to support a wide range of TV devices. This list includes heavyweights like Amazon Fire TV streaming media players, Chromecast with Google TV, and LG TVs. Notably, the Nvidia Shield TV, Roku devices and TVs, Samsung smart TVs, and Walmart’s ONN also join the list, and Netflix hints at further expansions in this department.
Netflix’s deep dive into the gaming world isn’t a sudden whim. As Mike Verdu, the company’s VP of games, reminisced, “We’ve been focused on creating a great gaming experience for our members since 2021 when we added mobile games to Netflix.” This reflects the company’s overarching vision: ensuring there’s something for everyone. Verdu emphasizes the company’s commitment to meeting members’ varied gaming needs with an “accessible, smooth, and ubiquitous service.”
But what’s more tantalizing for gamers worldwide is the hint of what’s brewing behind the scenes. Netflix has embarked on the ambitious project of developing an original, multiplatform, triple-A game. This colossal undertaking is happening at their newly minted studio in sunny California.
The talent spearheading this project speaks volumes about Netflix’s serious intent in the gaming sector. Leading the charge is Chacko Sonny, renowned for his role as the executive producer of the global sensation, “Overwatch.” He’s joined by Joseph Staten, a seasoned campaigner in the gaming world, known for his work on the “Halo” series. Staten recently left Microsoft and now dons the hat of the studio’s creative director at Netflix. Further bolstering the team’s credentials is Raf Grassetti, the art maestro behind the iconic “God of War” visuals, who’s assumed the role of art director.
As Netflix sets its sights on carving a niche in the gaming universe, the anticipation is palpable. The amalgamation of a behemoth streaming platform with the dynamic world of gaming promises to redefine the boundaries of digital entertainment. With its resources, global reach, and an ace team, Netflix might just be gearing up to deliver gaming’s next big thing.