Netflix takes step toward multimedia empire with new video games

Netflix Inc. is unveiling new video games based on its shows,
stepping up efforts to turn its streaming platform into a
multimedia empire.

Stranger Things 3: The Game, a title based on the popular teen
series, will come out on July 4, the same day the third season of
the show debuts. Netflix has also licensed “The Dark Crystal: Age
of Resistance”—a prequel series to the 1980s Jim Henson
film—for a game that will debut later this year. The company
isn’t developing or producing the video games itself, opting
instead to license the characters to outside studios.

Netflix is just starting to explore the possibility of turning
its movies and TV shows into other products, and “Stranger
Things” has been its guinea pig. The show is one of the
service’s most popular, especially in the U.S. and among younger
viewers. The company licensed a “Stranger Things” mobile game
in 2017 and has since struck deals for “Stranger Things”
T-shirts, Coca-Cola bottles and ice cream. A new mobile game will
debut in 2020.

Some of these promotions are just marketing stunts designed to
drive additional viewers to its original series. Netflix still
generates virtually all of its sales from subscriptions to its
streaming service, the world’s largest paid online TV network.
But both merchandise and video games could become new revenue

‘Obvious’ move
“We’re looking for opportunities to extend the universe of
these shows and films into other mediums,” Chris Lee, the
director of interactive games at Netflix, said during a panel at
the E3 video-game expo. “To me, it was really obvious to try to
do that into video games.”

Industrywide, video games sales topped $40 billion last year.
That’s more than consumers spend on movie tickets.

Hollywood studios have a checkered history of turning hit movies
and shows into video games and an even spottier track record of
turning games into movies. For every GoldenEye, a classic game
based on the James Bond film, there are a number that failed.

Netflix is still in the experimental stage. Its first two games
will be available on most of the major gaming consoles, as well as
personal computers. The company has also produced an interactive TV
series that blend gaming with TV, such as “Black Mirror:
Bandersnatch.” Viewers have to make choices during the show that
affect the narrative.
—Bloomberg News

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Netflix takes step toward multimedia empire with new video games