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DUBAI: Faster than some observers predicted, the wider streaming world has been gaining ground on industry pioneer Netflix in the fight for entertainment supremacy – but the world’s biggest streamer has yet to a few tricks up his sleeve.

Take Netflix games, for example. Launched softly just 10 months ago with little marketing muscle behind it, the service has already added 28 mobile games to its library and is steadily gaining traction among the company’s huge subscription base, largely through word of mouth.

For Netflix, however, gaming isn’t just a value-added service; Netflix Games could signal the future of the company, one that will maximize the value of its internal intellectual properties.

“We believe Netflix’s great opportunity is to connect our universes together,” Leanne Loombe, the company’s head of external video games, told Arab News.

This means that in the near future, when new seasons of globally popular Netflix properties such as “Stranger Things”, “Squid Game”, “Bridgerton” and “Money Heist” are released, they could potentially come with tie-in games. directly with them. Such a service would not only cross-promote, but could also enrich the whole viewing experience.

“Some of the big IPs on the streaming side could become experiences on the gaming side that could allow people to watch the TV show or the movie and then play the game and really immerse themselves in the universe and the characters. We’re excited to bring more Netflix IP games to the service,” Loombe said.

Netflix has long had a clear overall strategy. It is available in 190 countries and territories, with teams around the world who aim to not only adapt existing content to each unique market, but also create content specifically designed for each. In some cases, like the original Jordanian Arabic-language drama AlRawabi School for Girls, this local content ends up finding a global audience.

By embracing the game, Netflix properties could gain even more cultural ground, especially in countries like Saudi Arabia, where the game is not only popular locally, but enjoys community-level support. the state for the continued growth of the industry.

“Saudi Arabia will become one of the global hubs for gaming and esports,” said Prince Faisal bin Bandar, President of the Saudi Esports Federation, during his keynote address at the Next World Forum. in Riyadh this month.

Netflix’s move toward cross-platform maximization of the value of its IP addresses is not a plan for the distant future. It has already announced two major games related to Netflix’s past and future projects.

A game based on the popular drama series “The Queen’s Gambit”, titled The Queen’s Gambit Chess, was announced in June. A release date has not been given but is likely imminent.

Additionally, an original and exclusive game in the hit Assassin’s Creed franchise was announced last weekend by software company and new Netflix partner Ubisoft. It would tie into a previously announced live-action “Assassin’s Creed” TV series. Both could appear on Netflix in 2023.

“Of the 28 games we’ve released so far, and with 50 planned by the end of the year, few of them are Netflix IP,” Loombe said. “Our future will be more focused on that because it’s an area where we already have a superpower.”

While the majority of games are meant for the mobile gaming experience, that doesn’t mean they’re meant to be superficial “grip and play” experiences. The streamer already offers a range of game types, from casual gaming experiences to so-called “hardcore gaming”, and existing multiplayer options mean the prospect of esports on Netflix’s gaming platform is not an outlandish possibility.

“We already have multiplayer games on the service and giving people the chance to play together is something we’re excited about,” says Loombe.

Netflix is ​​pouring the same depth, focus, and size of investment into their future game plans that their TV IPs are already known for. This is especially true in the case of upcoming Ubisoft games, which in addition to Assassin’s Creed include the popular spin-off games Valiant Hearts and Mighty Quest.

“These games all had a scale that existed before they came to the platform and we want to make sure that with our upcoming originals, we do justice to these games in terms of complexity, scope and depth of experience that we let’s create.” Loombe said.

“Although it’s early days as these games are being developed, we remain loyal to these franchises and want to bring great games to the existing communities and their most hardcore fans.”

While many other streaming services have emerged from studios or existing film and TV services, Netflix has always been a tech-focused company that doesn’t see itself as fitting easily into a specific box. As Loombe says, this is an entertainment company and the definition of entertainment encompasses a broader category than some might think.

“I think it’s a natural progression for Netflix to jump into gaming so that we have a wide range of entertainment for our members,” she said.

“You need a few hours to sit down and watch a movie or TV show on the weekend or in the evening, but with games you can play for five minutes on your break or you can play on your commute, by especially on mobile. This makes Netflix properties much more accessible and can fit your lifestyle.

And that’s why, ultimately, Netflix believes its future is cross-platform – so that no free time, no matter how brief, can be filled with some form of entertainment that can be enjoyed for the price of it. a Netflix subscription.

“The games allow us to ensure that our members have something to do, wherever they are, whatever the time of day,” Loombe said. “Our goal is to bring joy to our members through a connected ecosystem; to make sure the entertainment is always in their hands.