Netflix: Streamer’s expansion into gaming is ‘natural extension’

Think of Netflix and a memorable television show or movie will likely pop into your mind.

What did you most enjoy? Squid Game? Bridgerton? Stranger Things maybe?

Netflix says games are a key part of its proposition to stay relevant with audiences in years to come, and is slowly ramping up plans to offer more gaming experiences to subscribers.

“The lines between the different ways we enjoy our entertainment are blurring.

“Our goal is to have a game on the service for everyone.

Queen's Gambit ScreenshotIMAGE SOURCE,NETFLIX
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The Queen’s Gambit video game is made in Liverpool by Ripstone Studios

This low-key approach is a sensible move according to games journalist Shay Thompson, who explains the industry is “littered with the failed attempts” from legacy media brands to get into the world of gaming.

“When other mainstream entertainment organisations have tried to enter the game space they’ve really struggled,” Thompson says.

. That’s a significant reason why those titles haven’t ended up making a serious impact.”

. The company is currently working on a the next iteration of the Tomb Raider franchise starring Lara Croft.

“Focusing on the mobile games first is a clever strategy that could work in Netflix favour,” says Thompson. “It looks as if they’re talking the time to understand the landscape and gamers.

“However giving gamers what they want, not what a big organisations think they want, will be the key to making this work.

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“Connecting shows, movies and games together from our universes is what we’re trying to accomplish,” she explains.

In a trendy office space in central Liverpool, that’s exactly what the team at Ripstone Studios are trying to do.

In amongst the exposed brick, succulent plants and pop culture memorabilia littered on the desks are developers and programmers busy creating the next update for their first partnership with Netflix. The Queen’s Gambit is, as you may have guessed, a chess simulator based on the adventures of the television series’ main character Beth Harmon.

The team won the contract to make the game after Jaime Brayshaw, the creative executive, sent Netflix an email out of the blue.

Queen's Gambit ScreenshotIMAGE SOURCE,NETFLIX
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Confident that this agreement is a “win-win”, Brayshaw isn’t worried about joining the long history of failed game and movie or television tie-ins.

The streamer will be keen to learn from the other big media organisations renowned for working in film, television or tech who’ve tried to cross the divide into the games space.

It isn’t investing millions in one experience that has to compete with well established brands to be deemed a success.

Should a project fail to reach lots of players, the financial ramifications are not as significant.

Queen's Gambit ScreenshotIMAGE SOURCE,NETFLIX
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The Queen’s Gambit is the latest example of Netflix leveraging its intellectual property in the gaming space

It can be difficult to regain an audience that has moved on to other games.

As Loombe reiterates: “We’re very early in our games journey right way.”


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