Netflix Plans to Add Video Games Next Year

In addition to expanding podcast offerings and adding an online store

Netflix is adding video games to its platform, which will help the streaming giant expand its reach and diversify its revenue streams. Bloomberg reported the news last week after Netflix announced it hired Mike Verdu as vice president of game development. Verdu previously worked for Electronic Arts and Facebook. The plan is to offer video games to Netflix subscribers within the next year. Though Netflix has not shared details, a source familiar with the matter said that Netflix will not charge subscribers extra for video games, at least not at the outset.

Netflix podcast expansion

This is just the latest in a list of strategic moves that Netflix is making to attract new audiences and retain existing subscribers as competition in the streaming world gets more vigorous. In May, Netflix revealed that they are exploring the expansion of Netflix podcasts. Two months later, they announced the hiring of former Apple and NPR executive N’Jeri Eaton, who will serve as Netflix’s first director of podcast programming, says Variety. Eaton shared the news on Twitter.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Netflix is currently accepting pitches from podcast creators.

“Podcasts are an excellent way for fans to connect with our stories and talent, and our marketing team plans to make more of them,” said Jonathan Bling, a spokesman for Netflix.

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Currently, Netflix has a library of about 30 podcasts, available on Apple and Spotify, which are linked to some of the streaming service’s most popular shows like “The Crown,” “The Irishman” and “Shadow and Bone.” Other popular Netflix podcasts include “You Can’t Make This Up” and “Okay, Now Listen.” Netflix also has a “We are Netflix” podcast, hosted by Netflix senior software engineer Lyle Troxell, where Netflix employees talk about work and life at Netflix.

Screenshot from Netflix podcasts on Spotify. Podcasts shown may not be official podcasts of Netflix.

Netflix merchandise

In June, Netflix launched an online store with exclusive merchandise. Powered by Shopify, the online store features merch inspired by their favorite characters and shows, as well as Netflix logo wear, including hats, shirts, pillows and neck gaiters. The store also features products from Hypland, BEAMS, Nathalie Nguyen and Kristopher Kites including t-shirts and hoodies, jewelry, caps, collectibles and more.

“We love it when great stories transcend screens and become part of people’s lives. We’re always looking at how we can extend the world of our stories for fans, from apparel and toys to immersive events and games. And it’s why today we’re launching Netflix.shop as an exciting new destination combining curated products and rich storytelling in a uniquely Netflix shopping experience,” said Josh Simon, vice president of consumer products, for Netflix in a June 10, 2021 blog post.

Simon said that the Netflix online shop will feature exclusive limited editions of curated high-quality apparel and lifestyle products that are tied to their shows and brands. This month, the store features streetwear and action figures from two Netflix anime series Yasuke and Eden, along with limited-edition apparel and décor inspired by Lupin in collaboration with Musée du Louvre.

Netflix store. Image courtesy of Netflix

Insider Take

There has been a lot of speculation about why Netflix is diversifying. Is the company panicking because of slowing growth? Yes, the company’s growth rate is decreasing, but no one can keep up with the streaming entertainment spike we saw during the pandemic. Netflix’s growth continues at a slower pace, but when you have more than 207 million paid members around the world, you’re going to level off at some point. Sure, competition for streaming subscribers has grown too, but Netflix has developed a proven formula for success. These new additions (e.g., merch, podcasts, video games) are a smart way for Netflix to extend its brand and take advantage of new opportunities while also diversifying revenue streams. That’s just good business.