The video game market is a very large one, but just how large can be a bit surprising. According to 2016 figures, the music industry brings in roughly $16 billion a year, the film industry brings in an estimated $49 billion, and video games? It is calculated that they bring in around a massive $101 billion dollars a year. This means that the video game industry brings in more money than music and film combined. It is estimated that by the end of 2021 the video game market will be worth over $175 billion. That is a lot of money.
Netflix as a growing corporation has seen these numbers, and now allegedly wants a slice of the pie. Netflix is looking to hire a new senior executive to help it break into the video game sector, and has already held talks with several industry veterans. From what information has been revealed, it seems as though the subscription game service would be based on something like the Apple Arcade, which gives whomever subscribes to it unlimited access to the game selection it has, so long as they can pay the monthly bill.
A spokesperson from Netflix said: “We’ve continually expanded our offering — from series to documentaries, film, local language originals and reality TV,” and continued with: “Members also enjoy engaging more directly with stories they love… through interactive shows… or games based on [their properties like Stranger Things]… We are interested in doing more with interactive entertainment.” So it is no wonder that they can see the highly lucrative revenue stream right there in front of them as a sort of expansion they can move into.
They are most likely seeing the attention and profits from video game based shows like Castlevania, Dota, and The Witcher; and have projected income from new shows soon to come out like Magic The Gathering, League of Legends, and Sonic The Hedgehog. Another reason why Netflix may be considering the game subscription service is due to an unlikely competitor, Fortnite. Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings has emphasized this repeatedly himself. They don’t just compete against other streaming services like Disney+, HBO, and Hulu, but with other online entertainment platforms like Fortnite.
How is that possible though? Fortnite itself is a video game, but the developer Epic Games is building something they call “the Metaverse”, a sort of virtual world that is more than just a video game. Fortnite is actually a place where people can go to for movies, as they hold multiple movie nights where players can watch the films through a screen in the game. Fortnite also had the exclusive debut of the Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker trailer. As they expand more into film, Netflix likely sees a growing competitor.
Will they be able to push into this market successfully? Will this be a good move for gamers, or a bad one? Are game streaming subscription services moral, in that you never truly own anything that you pay for, another step in removing customers a step away from the products they consume? Who can say. We will have to wait and see what Netflix, and the future, have in store.