A year after launching mobile games, Netflix further solidified their commitment to mobile games with the acquisition of Spry Fox, an award-winning, Seattle-based independent game developer. This will be Netflix’s sixth such investment in a games studio or game developer. Spry Fox is known for titles including Triple Town, Alphabear, Alphabear 2, Road Not Taken, Bushido Bear and Cozy Grove. Existing games will remain downloadable and available in their current forms on the platforms where they are currently available. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“When David and I founded Spry Fox twelve years ago, our goal was to create a place where kind, creative people could make beautiful, original games in a supportive environment that brought happiness to the people who played them,” said Daniel Cook, co-founder of Spry Fox, in an October 31, 2022 news release. “After many heartfelt conversations, we are all excited about joining Netflix as an in-house game studio and building amazing games together.”
In a blog post on the Spry Fox website, the game developer said this means they will be able to continue making the games they enjoy, but they will have more support and resources to make the games even better and to reach a broader audience. They can focus less on profit and collaborate with creatives at Netflix to continue to improve.
“Real talk: We’ve been at this for almost 13 years. It’s been exhilarating, humbling, endlessly interesting and often challenging. We’ve always known that above all else, we wanted our games to bring people happiness. But in other ways, it feels like we only recently figured out what ‘we want to be when we grow up.’ What has become clear over the course of all of our adventures: We are a studio that builds original, world-class cozy games. Especially games that bring people together. And we are confident that Netflix is going to help us do that,” said David Edery, aka Chedd, in the blog post.
Amir Rahimi, VP of Game Studios, also commented on the news.
“We look forward to creating games with a studio whose values — a relentless focus on employee and player joy — align closely with ours. Our games journey has only just begun, but I’m proud of the foundational work we’ve been doing to build out our in-house creative capacity so that we can deliver the best possible games experience — including no ads and no in-app purchases — to our members as part of their membership,” Rahimi said.
Other game developer investments
Netflix is on a roll, acquiring smaller companies to help build up their gaming division. Other acquisitions include:
In addition to these acquisitions, Netflix announced in September they are building an internal games studio in Helsinki, Finland, as well as an unnamed studio that opened in Southern California earlier this month, reports GeekWire.
Since launching mobile games in November 2021, Netflix has made significant financial and resource investments to make gaming an important division in Netflix. As of this writing, mobile games are free for Netflix members to play, and there are no in-app purchases. However, Netflix must have a plan to monetize the games or for the games to somehow make the investments worthwhile for Netflix. Either Netflix thinks it will grow membership as a result of the games, or they will somehow profit off the games. For example, maybe they will add a stand-alone mobile games subscription for non-Netflix subscribers. For now, adding mobile games makes Netflix unique, creating added value for Netflix subscribers. We’ll be curious to see how they will get a return on their investments.