Netflix is going to try to succeed where Google failed.
In a briefing with reporters that included The Verge, Leanne Loombe, Netflix’s vice president of external games, confirmed that the company is “underway” in its work to build out a cloud gaming service. Loombe did note that, while work is in progress, the company is “very early” in that work, so we shouldn’t expect an imminent announcement.
“We are very early in that side of our journey. We do believe that cloud gaming will enable us to provide that easy access to games on any screen and be frictionless and provide the accessibility into gaming experiences.”
Netflix’s gaming experience is growing, but the experience is a little weird right now. While you can browse its gaming lineup in the Netflix app, you need to go outside of it on Apple and Google’s app stores in order to actually download them. This is the company’s way of meeting the current rules of each goliath’s app store rules, but it does make the user experience a little more clunky. Cloud gaming could be a potential solution to those hurdles.
This move by Netflix is intriguing, especially given the recent failure of Stadia, Google’s cloud gaming service that was shut down in February 2022. Despite growth in cloud gaming, especially for competitors like Xbox, Google Stadia failed to attract a large audience, and the company ultimately decided to abandon the project.
Loombe says that the company is being “super thoughtful” about the development of its own cloud gaming solution in order to avoid the problems that Google Stadia ran into, but it’s unclear exactly what that means or what will be different about Netflix’s service. One of the obvious advantages that Netflix has over a completely new service like Google Stadia is its massive user base. Netflix currently has more than 230 million subscribers worldwide, so it has a huge existing audience to market the service to.
Another advantage that Netflix has is its experience with streaming technology. The company has been at the forefront of streaming media for over a decade, and it has developed a robust infrastructure that can support high-quality video streaming, albeit while charging more for that benefit.
However, entering the gaming industry is not without its challenges. The gaming market is highly competitive, and established players such as Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo currently dominate both the console and cloud gaming market. We’ll have to see if Netflix can take those advantages and make a name for itself with gamers.
While Netflix is exploring cloud gaming, the EU is reportedly ready to approve Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.