Netflix launches Stories to push games inspired by hit shows

Netflix launches Stories to push games inspired by hit shows

Netflix has launched more games titles and as it looks to expand beyond TV and movie streaming.

The global streaming giant is launching spin-off games on its Netflix Stories app next month.

Netflix Stories: Love is Blind, will launch on 19 September, just before season five of the reality dating show series debuts on 22 September.

“In the game, you’ll be able to (virtually) step into the pods as the newest singles on the series and embark on your own journey of true love and self-discovery,” Amir Rahimi, VP of Netflix Game Studios, said.

All of these stories will live in the Netflix Stories app, included with all Netflix memberships, without any ads or in-app purchases. 

Users can also “preview” two chapters of Netflix Stories: Money Heist, ahead of the December release of the new Money Heist spin-off series Berlin, and Netflix Stories: Virgin River.

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The Netflix Stories app is being touted as a collection of interactive narrative games that will immerse players in “an ever-growing catalogue of stories from fan-favourite Netflix series and films”. 

As Rahimi said in today’s announcement, the company sees one of its biggest opportunities as delivering more joy to members by “expand[ing] the worlds of our beloved films and series”.

In other words, Netflix is doing a reverse Barbie. Whereas Mattel has recently revived a time-honoured marketing strategy of turning a toy franchise into merchandisable movie “content,” Netflix is turning content into gaming. It has already experimented with turning hit Shonda Rimes drama Bridgerton into a live experience and launched an official store for Stranger Things.

Now the fruits of acquiring game developer Boss Fight Entertainment last year are now being harvested. Expect a lot more games based on Netflix originals and licensed content to find their way into Netflix’s gaming app.

The question is, will these games actually be any good, or are they primarily a marketing tactic more than an emergent revenue stream? The graphics, storytelling and gameplay offered by modern AAA console games is nothing short of impressive and prices have risen considerably to pay for the hike in developer costs. Meanwhile, more primitive smartphone games that people play for a few minutes on the commute are free and usually ad-supported.

As Netflix develops deeper into gaming and live experiences with its growing vault of IP, it will have to decide whether it really wants to expand existing worlds or take even braver leaps into new ones.

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