Netflix is going all-in on video game development with the establishment of an internal studio in Helsinki, the streaming giant said Monday. It will make original games with no ads and no in-app purchases, Netflix said.
"This is another step in our vision to build a world-class games studio that will bring a variety of delightful and deeply engaging original games ... to our hundreds of millions of members around the world," Amir Rahimi, vice president of Game Studios at Netflix, said in a press release.
Leading the studio is former Zynga executive Marko Lastikka. Zynga is primarily a mobile developer known for making games such as FarmVille, Words with Friends, CSR Racing and other casual titles.
This new internal game studio isn't Netflix's first. Earlier this year, Netflix purchased Helsinki-based Next Games, maker of last year's mobile title Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales. Netflix also purchased Texas-based Boss Fight Studio earlier this year and California-based Night School Studio last year.
Netflix's push into gaming is part of the company's larger strategy to keep eyeballs on its platform. When Fortnite became a cultural phenomenon in 2018-19, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the battle royale title was more of a threat to it than TV and movie streaming rival HBO. Last year, Netflix began integrating games into its mobile apps, letting users download titles to their phones. The games were largely casual affairs, but there were a few hidden gems, such as Poinpy. At the moment, it's uncertain whether Netflix will stick to more casual titles or aim to make AAA games, like those from Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft.
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