Netflix has teamed up with Ubisoft, one of the largest video game companies in Europe, as the streaming giant looks to bolster its fledgling gaming business.
The California-based streaming service will launch three new mobile games next year based on Ubisoft’s games, including its most successful title, Assassin’s Creed.
The move comes as Netflix attempts to accelerate the growth of its new gaming arm amid a slowdown in the company’s streaming business. The streaming group has lost more than half of its market value since April, when it revealed that its ten-year growth in subscribers was over.
The partnership will involve the French gaming group that will develop mobile games for Netflix. This will also include a Ubisoft-based game Powerful searcha game of building castles and looting monsters, and the historical puzzle adventure game called Valiant hearts.
The games will be made available exclusively to Netflix subscribers, with no ads or in-app purchases, allowing Ubisoft to tap into new audiences and experiment with new formats for existing titles. No details on the value of the transaction have been announced.
Netflix entered the gaming industry last year, hiring a slew of high-profile executives, while teaming up with the world’s largest tech companies in an effort to grab a slice of the most valuable part of the entertainment industry.
Big Tech groups including Amazon, the owner of Facebook Meta, Google and Apple have all stepped up their investments in video games in recent years, vying to become the “Netflix of games”.
Netflix launched 28 games and acquired three game studios, including Night School Studio, which makes the supernatural adventure game Without oxenand Boss Fight Entertainment, based in Texas. In March, he bought Next Games, the Finnish developer behind mobile games based on his hit show he Stranger things.
However, the company struggled to quickly convert a large chunk of its roughly 220 million subscribers into regular players. According to market intelligence firm Apptopia, there are approximately 1.9 million daily active users of Netflix’s mobile games and it has been installed 28 million times. In contrast, King, a popular game publisher who produces Candy Crushhas around 30 million daily active users.
Leanne Loombe, Netflix’s head of external games, said the streaming company was still “very busy gaming” but was in an experimentation phase, trying to figure out which styles and genres resonated the most with its subscribers.
“Whoever our members are, we want to make sure there is a game there for them,” he said, adding that in the future “we will begin to focus more on Netflix’s IP” since “this is where we have a superpower.”
The streaming giant expects to have a total of 50 games on its roster by the end of the year.
But its push comes during a broader slowdown in the gaming industry, with console makers, video game publishers, and game chip makers reporting a weakening in sales and engagement in recent months. Last week, US tech group Snap, owner of the Snapchat social media group, said it would suspend its gaming plans.
Loombe said the company was not troubled by a recent slide into gaming involvement, particularly on mobile devices, noting that “people are still playing … so there’s still a huge opportunity for us.”
“You need a few hours to watch a TV series or movie, but you only need five minutes to play on your commute,” he added.