Gaming has been big business for a long time — but Netflix just kicked the whole industry up about ten notches in one swipe during Netflix’s latest earnings call. Now, all of us have the great opportunity to Binge-Game as well as Binge-Watch.
Personally, I wish this essential entertainment step had been taken at the start of COVID — but whether Netflix makes this move early or late — the step is epic for all of us.
Netflix and the Netflix of Gaming Opportunity
“Games” is a really interesting component. There’s no doubt that games are going to be an important form of entertainment and important modality to deepen that fan experience so we’re going to keep going.” — Greg Peters
That statement once again fueled speculation that Netflix may be getting into gaming in a much bigger way.
In an industry that has long been dominated by a-la-carte and freemium business models, the idea of a subscription gaming service continues to be one of the most sought-after paradigm shifts for game companies.
In fact, Forbes said, “’The Netflix of video games’ is a label thrown around like confetti at a victory parade. It’s held out as the prize that awaits the winner in the burgeoning game streaming arena.”
Where are we in this paradigm shift, and what are the various subscription gaming platforms currently out there today?
Apple Arcade costs $5 per month and has over 180 of the best collection of mobile games — Arcade Originals, Timeless Classics, and App Store. Apple’s subscription is ad-free, has no in-app purchases, and is shareable with the entire family.
Some of the more popular games in Apple Arcade: NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition, Star Trek: Legends, Badland+, Monument Valley+, Sonic Racing, The Oregon Trail, SpongeBob: Patty Pursuit, Mini Metro, PAC-MAN Party Royale, Fantasian, What the Golf?, and LEGO® Brawls.
Microsoft Game Pass costs $10 per month for PC or Console, or $15 per month for both. The service continues to expand its offering and includes EA Play with the PC and PC+Console offers.
Microsoft finalized its acquisition of Zenimax and expanded its library for Game Pass by 20 massive games all at once, including The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind, Doom Eternal, Dishonored 2, and Prey.
The service includes other hit titles like Grand Theft Auto V, MLB® The Show 21, Outriders, Zombie Army 4: Dead War, NHL® 21, Minecraft, Forza Horizon 4, Destiny 2, Madden NFL 21, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six®, Star Wars BattlefrontII, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Age of Empires II, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
PlayStation Plus costs $5 per month when buying for the full year and $10 per month when subscribing monthly. Very different than the Microsoft Game Pass, Sony’s solution for PlayStation Plus provides 2 games each month that users are able to download and play for as long as they remain a subscriber.
Games include Call of Duty Black Ops III, Crash Banidcoot N Sane Trilogy, Resident Evil Biohazard, Fallout 4, Monster Hunter World, Battlefield 1, Days Gone, Zombie Army 4: Dead War, and Oddworld Soulstorm.
Stadia’s Pro subscription gaming solution costs $10 per month for PC streaming of games. Games playable for free as part of the subscription include Enter the Gungeon, Hitman 1, Everspace, PAC-MAN Mega Tunnel Battle, Lara Croft & the Guardian of Light, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Resident Evil 7 Biohazard, Republique, and Submerged: Hidden Depths.
Nintendo Switch Online costs only $20 per year, and the service is billed as primarily giving the ability to play hit Nintendo Switch games online, such as Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, Diablo 3, and pretty much everything else that has online connectivity.
The service does come with the bonus of offering over 80 Super NES and NES classic games—including Super Mario Kart, Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Donkey Kong Country as part of the service.
TapTop — Alexa Built-In is a tabletop gaming console primarily for board games and costs $5 per month. It also includes Amazon’s free Alexa service providing all of Amazon’s Alexa Voice-Based Games.
TapTop’s library and full coming soon include — Yes! All of these — Catan, Ticket to Ride, Codenames, SET, Pandemic, Terraforming Mars, Machi Koro, Space Base, Dead Giveaway, Downforce, Conspiracy, My Little Scythe, Splendor, War Chest, Rival Restaurants, Fake News, Game of 49, Burgle Bros, Mini Metro, Hardback, 12 Orbits, Texcoco, Avalon, Tigris & Euphrates, Carcassonne, Takenoko, Jaipur, Love Letter, Medici, Axio, Ra, Mansions of Madness, Towers of Arkhanos, Mysterium, Pathfinder, Smallworld, Lost Cities, Concept, Blue Moon City, The Quest for El Dorado, Rise of Tribes, Game of Thrones, 7 Wonders, 7 Wonders Duel, Dream Home, Patchwork, Zombicide, Abandon Ship, Modern Art, Castle Panic, Night of the Ninja, Planet Apocalypse, Can’t Stop, Games of Art, and 8 Minute Empire.
In addition to traditional board games, the TapTop interacts with physical RFID-enabled figures placed directly on the screen and will be launching several titles incorporating physical RFID figures and RFID cards in late 2021.
Netflix of Gaming
Until Netflix enters the fold — the question of “Who will be the Netflix of gaming?” will be a question that continues. We are all banking (and hopeful) on Netflix!
Even after Netflix “makes it” — it seems that the “The Netflix of Gaming” title will be a debated and debated — long into the future.
At this point in time, Microsoft’s Game Pass, Apple’s Arcade, and Blok Party’s TapTop – Alexa Built-In seem to be the ones to beat.
Stay tuned to see how it all develops.
Top Image Credit: tima miroshnichenko; pexels; thank you!