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Netflix will not be doing game streaming, says CEO

Netflix

With the burst of popularity in Cloud-based gaming applications and services, everyone is wondering what company will jump into the fray next. Hints have been found in Steam updates which suggest Steam is doing something related to the idea. And of course there’s already Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud to contend with. But a lot of people are wondering if established names in the streaming industry have any interest.

It’s been rumored for a while that Netflix wanted to get into games. Some even suggested that there were early plans in the works for Netflix to enter the cloud gaming kerfuffle with their own offering. The speculation was originally based on a quote from the company CEO that said Netflix has more competition from Fortnite than they do HBO. People took this directly, assuming it meant that Netflix was about to jump into gaming.  The source for this was an interview at DealBook 2019, Hastings chatted to Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times about the future of the company, so there was plenty to unpack. After all, it sounds like an appealing idea to have the established king of the hill in the industry venturing into a new domain.

Sadly for those hoping for such a development, it has now been confirmed that Netflix has no plans to offer a cloud-based gaming service as a part of their brand. CEO Reed Hastings had a short and sweet answer. ‘No. We’re really focused on doing incredible series and films,’ he replied. He continued to explain that people have plenty of entertainment options already: some play video games like Fortnite, some watch TV and streaming, others surf the web.

Here’s the full quote:

No. We’re really focused on doing incredible series and films.

There are a lot of other things people do to entertain themselves, including Fortnite. And the original quote was that we compete with Fortnite more than we compete with HBO. Fortnite gets a lot more hours of viewing. Ultimately it’s about competing for those hours of viewing. But we don’t compete with Fortnite better by doing something like [a streaming service for games] because we’re not very good at that. We compete by doing the most amazing TV shows you’ve ever seen, so you put down Fortnite and you come to watch our shows.

So while the news is sure to break some hearts, there is some good news for gaming fans. The upcoming The Witcher adaptation starring Henry Cavill is on-pace in development, and should be out before you know. Netflix has also expressed interest, and even succeeded in, adapting some of its more popular franchises into games.

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The reality is that attention spans are shrinking and overall competition is increasing, and it just doesn’t make sense for Netflix to leap into a new and developing market. We still don’t even have direct and open access to the biggest name in a while Google’s Stadia, so it would be wise to wait for the dust to settle to see how the competition works out before investing millions into a new venture. And given that the cloud gaming space is littered with failed attempts, Netflix likely doesn’t see the potential revenue to justify jumping in.

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