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Netflix might get into cloud gaming, forms another new game studio

Studio will be headed by former Overwatch executive producer Chacko Sonny

Bright colorful illustration of Netflix logo Illustration: Ariel Davis for Polygon

Netflix has made significant investments over the past year in gaming through the streaming service’s mobile app. And, if recent comments by the company’s VP of gaming are any indication, the streamer has its sights set on cloud gaming next.

According to TechCrunch, Netflix’s Mike Verdu said on Tuesday at the TechCrunch Disrupt 2022 conference that the company is “seriously exploring a cloud gaming offering.” Verdu also announced that Netflix would be opening a new gaming studio in Southern California, the fifth games studio owned by Netflix to date, headed by Chacko Sonny, former executive producer on Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch and former director of product development at PlayStation’s Santa Monica Studio.

“We’re not asking you to subscribe as a console replacement,” Verdu told TechCrunch Disrupt attendees. “It’s a completely different business model. The hope is over time that it just becomes this very natural way to play games wherever you are.”

Netflix is far from the first company with cloud gaming ambitions. Both Google and Amazon have made similar attempts to corner the market, launching their own cloud-based gaming platforms in the form of Stadia and Luna, respectively. Last month, Google VP and general manager of Stadia Phil Harrison announced that Stadia will be shut down in January 2023.

Commenting on the recent announcement, Verdu stated that “Stadia was a technical success. It was fun to play games on Stadia, [but] it had some issues with the business model, sure.”

According to recent data from analytics company Apptopia published in CNBC in August, an average of 1.7 million daily users have downloaded games via Netflix’s mobile app, less than 1% of Netflix’s 221 million subscriber base. The app is home to a variety of popular and critically acclaimed games like Into The Breach, Poinpy, Before Your Eyes, and Spiritfarer, as well as newer titles like ustwo games’ Desta: The Memories Between.

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