- Netflix disclosed that work has begun on a new video game studio in Helsinki, Finland.
- Marko Lastikka, a former executive at Zynga and EA, will be in charge of the new division of the company.
- Netflix has been working on the video games for a while with most of the games being based on its TV and movie franchises.
Netflix is launching its own video game studio as it steps its efforts to establish itself in the gaming business. It will be run by Marko Lastikka, a former executive at Zynga and Electronic Arts, and have its base in Helsinki, Finland.
Small gaming companies like Night School Studio, the developer of Oxenfree, were previously acquired by Netflix. But the industry leader in streaming is now taking things a step further and starting from scratch with a studio.
Lastikka is a well-known name in the game industry. He co-founded the Helsinki-based Zynga company, which developed FarmVille 3 under his supervision. The “vision to build a world-class games studio” was stated in a blog post by Amir Rahimi, VP of Game Studios at Netflix. Amir Rahimi further stated, “It will bring a variety of delightful and deeply engaging original games, with no ads and no in-app purchases.”
Netflix reported a 200,000 subscriber decline in April, its first quarterly loss since 2011. Due to a 35% decline in share price, the company’s market value decreased by more than $50 billion (£46.5 billion). The biggest subscriber loss in Netflix ever occurred between April and July 2022, although the company still has more than 220 million subscribers globally.
In March 2022, Netflix acquired Helsinki-based Next Games. It already has a working relationship with the game developer who created a mobile game inspired by the popular Stranger Things Netflix series.
According to Michael Verdu, vice president of games at Netflix, Next Games was at the time “a core studio in a strategic region and key talent market.”
Helsinki-based game researcher Annakaisa Kultima told the BBC that this acquisition would have impacted Netflix’s decision.
“They know how Helsinki works as well as Finland’s development culture,” she continued.
“There are hundreds of games published on a daily basis on the app stores, so in order to really make it there, you have to have the critical knowledge of how to make it happen. We have the reputation of doing pretty well for the past decade or two in the game industry, but games are not labelled where they were made. “
In recent years, Netflix has become increasingly interested in the gaming sector. It has released a number of series based on games, including Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and Arcane (based on League of Legends) (based on Cyberpunk: 2077).
A live-action Assassin’s Creed television series and a Netflix-only mobile game are both being created by Netflix in close collaboration with Ubisoft.
It’s not known if the Netflix game studio plans to create games only for mobile devices or if it will also pursue the home console market.