People might still be spending plenty of time at home watching movies and bingeing TV shows, but with so many streaming platforms available, Netflix is struggling to gain new customers. The subscription-based streaming content giant only had a net gain of 5.5 million subscribers in the first six months of 2021.
While that number might sound impressive, this is actually the most significant slowdown in subscriber growth for the company since 2013.
Although Netflix experienced a pandemic-fueled boom in 2020, the company reported losing approximately 430,000 subscribers in the United States and Canada during the second quarter of the year, which is only its third quarterly decline in the past decade.
In an attempt to attract new subscribers and, perhaps, woo back some that it lost, Netflix is officially adding something new to its content lineup: video games.
On Tuesday, Netflix confirmed that it intends to include video games in existing subscription plans at no extra cost. However, the company did not describe what kind of games will be offered or when it plans to launch this service.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Netflix released a shareholder letter ahead of its Tuesday earnings call that explained the company is in the “early stages of further expanding into games.” The letter did clarify that the service’s offerings will at least initially be “primarily focused on games for mobile devices.”
Netflix’s chief product officer Greg Peters said the company will eventually expand its gaming options to gaming consoles and televisions, according to the Associated Press. At first, the games will have connections to the platform’s most popular programming, but the company could add other game titles.
As part of its new strategy, Netflix hired former Facebook and Electronic Arts executive Mike Verdu as its new vice president of game development. It also recently hired N’Jeri Eaton, from Apple Podcasts, as its first head of podcasts.
“We view gaming as another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original films, animation and unscripted TV,” Netflix wrote in the shareholder letter. “We’re excited as ever about our movies and TV series offering, and we expect a long runway of increasing investment and growth across all of our existing content categories, but since we are nearly a decade into our push into original programming, we think the time is right to learn more about how our members value games.”
Are you excited about this development?