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Netflix are using mobile as a springboard for the leap to big screen gaming | Pocket Gamer.biz

by Contributor

It’s something we’ve worked out for ourselves and touched upon time and time again but the evidence that Netflix’s gaming effort on mobile was just ‘a good place to start’ has now become plainer than ever. This week their head of external games Leanne Loombe spoke to The Verge and spelt out the plans that have been written on the walls for months.

In short, get ready to play games wherever you see a Netflix app.

Now with games too

Adding games to Netflix subscriptions was always a no brainer. Like bundling in music or video with your Amazon Prime fee, so adding games to your Netflix sub provided just one more reason for increasingly time and cash-strapped customers to stick around and keep on paying instead. 

And if they can disrupt customer’s quests to cut their monthly subs outlays and divert potential Apple Arcade cash or app store spends away from the usual mobile suspects and into Netflix’ pocket instead, then even better.

The problem is that for all their intentions (and Netflix have commendable ‘gone large’ with their aims and put money, time and skilled staff where their mouth is in this respect) their games offering remained rooted behind a tab in an app that sat in the darkness of someone’s pocket. 

Now, more than ever, Netflix are making it plain that the real win was always getting ‘real games’ beloved by ‘real gamers’ onto the device where they most want to play them – that big-screen TV in the den.

“We feel like there is a real big opportunity with cloud to create a certain type of game experience that really is tailored to Netflix on TV,” explained Loombe. “Those games will be different creatively to the mobile games that we’re making. Sometimes the games we launch on Netflix will be across mobile and TV and PC through the cloud. And sometimes there’ll be a cloud game that’s playable on TV and it will be really tailored to that experience.”

And be under no illusion. This isn’t just a side project to host non-touch games as well as phone-friendly screen tappers. THIS is the big win that Netflix have already hinted at and their cloud gaming experiments are pointing towards.

The real next gen ‘console’

Years ago the idea of streaming TV and movies was outrageous. All kinds of ‘internet TV’ services from the likes of Microsoft and Yahoo bit the dust by being too greedy for the first stumblings of the internet to make real. Now that high speed broadband is a service alongside water and heating, its broadcast ‘over the air’ TV that’s increasingly looking ridiculous. 

Next steps for the tech are therefore easy to plot. If Netflix can put games wherever they have an app and let their backend do the heavy lifting they’re effectively removing the need for any additional hardware whatsoever. Netflix could be about to win the next ‘console war’ by making the concept of the console obsolete.

Of course, the likes of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo aren’t going to give up their game without a fight but by being neck-deep in the world of hardware for so long, their first steps into cloud gaming have – of course – all been reliant on their expensive boxes to power it. It’s therefore genuinely possible that a company as ubiquitous and hungry as Netflix could – with no such hardware history and ‘next gen’ roadmap to stick to – upend the game and change everything.

Think about it. If you can turn on your TV, hit Netflix and play an increasingly high-end triple-A title right there with Netflix taking the strain as the years roll by, what extra hardware would you ever need?

Make no mistake. Mobile will come along for the ride too with bigger and better games magically appearing on the small screen via faster and better cloud services but the bigger play and the next big battle will be fought on the big screen.

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