Netflix Plans To Launch Its Own Video Game Studio

Netflix is building its own video game studio as part of its efforts to become a major player in the gaming industry. Marko Lastikka, who used to work for Zynga and Electronic Arts, will run the company, which will be based in Helsinki, Finland. Netflix has bought small game companies before, like Night School Studio, which made Oxenfree.

But the streaming giant is now going even further and starting from scratch to build a studio. Lastikka is a well-known name in the gaming world. He co-founded Zynga studio in Helsinki, which made FarmVille 3 while he was in charge.

In a blog post, Netflix’s Vice President of Game Studios, Amir Rahimi, talked about the company’s “vision to build a world-class games studio.” “It will bring a wide range of original games that are both fun and challenging, with no ads or in-app purchases.”

Netflix Games Studio
Netflix Games Studio

In April, Netflix said that it had lost 200,000 subscribers. This was the first quarterly loss since 2011 for the company. Its share price fell by 35%, which took more than $50 billion (£46.5 billion) off the market value of the company. Then, between April and July 2022, Netflix lost almost a million subscribers, the most in its history. However, it still has more than 220 million subscribers around the world.

Why Helsinki?

In March 2022, Netflix bought Next Games, which was based in Helsinki. It already worked with the game maker, who made a mobile game based on the popular Netflix show Stranger Things. At the time, Netflix’s VP of Games Michael Verdu called Next Games “a core studio in a strategic region and key talent market.”

Annakaisa Kultima, a game researcher who lives in Helsinki and works for the BBC, said that this purchase would have played a role in Netflix’s decision. “They know how Helsinki works and how the Finnish culture of development works,” she said. “Every day, hundreds of games are added to app stores, so if you want to really make it there, you need to know how to do it.”

“We’ve had a good reputation in the game industry for the last ten or twenty years, but games don’t say where they were made.

“From that point of view, I think that’s why, because they know there’s talent in Finland. Supercell, which made Clash of Clans, is in the center of Helsinki, and Rovio Entertainment and Remedy Entertainment, which made Control, are in Espoo, which is next to Helsinki.”

Only for phones?

In recent years, Netflix has become more interested in the gaming industry. It has made a number of shows based on games, like Arcane, which is based on League of Legends, and Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, which is based on Fallout (based on Cyberpunk: 2077).

Netflix is also working closely with Ubisoft on an Assassin’s Creed live-action TV show and a mobile game that will only be available on Netflix. It’s not clear if the Netflix studio will only make games for mobile devices or if it will also make games for home consoles.

An independent industry analyst named Eric Seufert said that Netflix is making “pretty significant investments” in the gaming business. “If they want to use a lot of the IP they own, they’ll probably have to build a lot of those games themselves,” he said. “Working with outside publishers on IP licensing deals is very time-consuming and complicated. “They have so much information about what customers like in terms of video-streaming content that I think they can probably use some of it.

“I think what they want to do in the end is use these games as part of the product content package and then funnel into the Netflix universe.”

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