In 2011 no-one knew what the phrase ‘binge-watching’ meant, let alone imagining themselves watching an entire series of a Korean TV show in a day. Fast forward to now and that phrase and activity are very real and normal parts of modern life.
It makes you wonder then, what currently unknown activities in 2021 will be commonplace in another 10 years’ time? If Netflix have their way, it could well be video game streaming. In November the film and TV giant launched its first games worldwide on Android.
In this article we look into our crystal ball and try to predict what this latest move from Netflix could mean for the gambling industry? Could there be a future where viewers stream Casino Royale and then play Live Roulette on the same app afterwards? Read on to find out.
Netflix Are Streaming Games, What?
In November 2021, the streaming giant went public with their first in-app games, thought to be the brainchild of VP Mike Verdu who previously worked as a games developer for EA. The first five games launched on the service are:
- Stranger Things: 1984
- Stranger Things 3: The Game
- Card Blast
- Teeter Up
- Shooting Hoops
While we don’t have a list of upcoming titles, we do know that Netflix are busy working away on creating more games for their subscribers. This was what the streaming giant had to say about the matter in their initial press release:
“Just like our series, films and specials, we want to design games for any level of play and every kind of player, whether you’re a beginner or a lifelong gamer.
“And we’re just getting started. We’re excited to continue improving our mobile gaming experience and adding to our entertainment offering in the months ahead.”
Why Are Netflix Getting Into Gaming?
In 2020, Netflix reported a staggering $25 billion in revenues, which was a 24% increase on the previous year. This year, however, the company has missed its customer addition targets.
In the first quarter of 2021, only 4 million paying customers signed up to the subscription service, some 2.25 million under target. In addition to that, the company has a heck of a lot of debt to pay off after borrowing somewhere in the region of $10-$15 billion to establish itself and produce original content.
In short then, Netflix needs to find new ways to entice people into subscribing. Providing an immersive viewing experience where fans can watch their favourite films and TV shows and then play branded games afterwards seems like the avenue that the company are intent on exploring in the coming years.
Will Netflix’s Gaming Service Succeed?
It’s easy to pour scorn on new ideas and write them off before they have even begun, but to do that with Netflix would be foolhardy. For the better part of a decade the company has consistently shown itself to be ahead of the curve, so there’s no reason to think that they will be wrong about gaming.
Particularly as the industry has been on the rise in recent years and is now a multi-billion dollar industry. Of the estimated 2.7 billion gamers around the globe, 2.4 billion play basic, mobile style games so there is clearly a market for what Netflix are offering.
What About Gambling?
One of the main drivers behind the success of mobile gaming in recent years has been the rise of the online gambling industry. Traditionally, the domain of swanky Las Vegas super casinos and back street poker halls, gambling is now rebranding itself as sleek and modern.
Relaxed legislation and a greater understanding of the potential downfalls are being cited as two main reasons behind the industry’s recent surge in popularity. There is also a lot of innovation in the industry too, with live casino and augmented and virtual reality casinos becoming a reality rather than a thing of science fiction.
In terms of an immersive experience, the provision of gambling games on Netflix’s site would add a new element to the viewing experience. Particularly if used in conjunction with films like the aforementioned Casino Royale or Molly’s Game for example.
Will Netflix go even further and create their own online casino replete with every game imaginable? It’s doubtful. At this time we can only really envisage the site providing free to play casino games as an immersive extra.
Anything else would require the company to obtain a gambling licence in a number of different countries for starters. In truth, the initial outlay in cost would most likely outweigh the future profits of doing so.
While Netflix is an innovative company, its whole raison d’être is to make money and a huge outlay to facilitate online gambling transactions wouldn’t sit too well with investors and shareholders.
One thing that is for sure though is that the entertainment industry as we know it will look completely different in 2031.