Netflix opens video game studio in Helsinki, Finland

Netflix is ​​starting a game studio in Helsinki as the next step in establishing itself in the video game industry. It’s a first for the streaming giant, which previously bought three more mobile game-making studios and hired executives from prominent game companies.

The in-house game studio will be run by Marco Lastica, a former CEO of Zynga and Electronic Arts. Lastikka recently worked for the Zynga branch in Helsinki under the Farmville franchise.

Netflix said it chose Helsinki because of its proximity to other gaming talent, such as Next Games, a Finnish studio it acquired earlier this year that makes titles like “Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales.”

“The games industry in Helsinki is in many ways a ‘mobile first’ game industry, and is led by companies like Rovio and Supercell,” said Lin Noni, an assistant professor at New York University and a game historian. “It makes sense when you consider the huge importance of the Finnish company Nokia which played its role in the dawn of the mobile industry. The popular game ‘Snake’ appeared pre-loaded on Nokia mobile phones starting in the late 1990s and is widely regarded as one of the first mobile games.”

Video games are becoming more and more prominent in the streaming service, whether it’s with a TV show turned into a game, like “Stranger Things” and “Stranger Things: 1984” or a video game show turned into a TV show like “Stranger Things: 1984” or a video game show turned into a TV show like The animated series “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” Based on “Cyberpunk 2077.” Netflix is ​​also going deep in publishing original third-party games, although the schedule for releasing new internal titles is much further behind.

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“We started really modestly late last year. There were very few games out there,” said Mike Verdo, Vice President of Games at Netflix, of the company’s approach to gaming in September interview with The Washington Post. “The speed with which we’re launching games is definitely increasing.”

“Netflix doesn’t take a lot of big shots like this, but when they do, they support it, and they stick with it,” Verdo added.

Netflix plans to add 50 games on its platform end of the year. The company declined to share adoption numbers for its existing games. The platform said it will not include ads in its games, and that the titles will be available to Netflix streaming subscribers.

While the streaming service has mostly released mobile games under its own brand Since its launch last year, it was vague as to whether he could delve into console or PC titles. The latest announcement simply says that he plans to build a “world-class game studio,” without platform specs.

Netflix games are inside its own mobile streaming app and use a sloppy workaround to Apple’s rules that prohibit app store distribution within its app store: Users can click a game on the Netflix app, where they will be directed back to the App Store to download the game. If users already own the titles, clicking on the game icons within the Netflix app will play those games.

As Netflix blames password sharing and stiff competition from platforms like Disney Plus and Hulu, it’s eyeing gaming as the next big opportunity. While the company is focused on creating more successful shows like “Squid Game” and “Bridgerton”, it is also buying game studios with a futuristic scheme.

Analysts note that Netflix’s moves into the gaming industry are coming as a player I lost nearly a million subscribers.

“Netflix is ​​slowly fulfilling its promise to develop a pipeline of 50 games through acquisitions and hiring from established companies and in prime locations,” said Joost van Druenen, lecturer in gaming at New York University’s Stern School of Business. . “It will soon face the challenge of properly managing a growing portfolio of concurrent projects while its core video streaming business takes a financial hit. Developing its gaming division will not save Netflix but could sink it.”

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