Netflix gaming engagement tripled in 2023, not yet material to core business

Netflix touts 300% engagement increase for its still-early video games offering, led strongly by the over-performance of the Grand Theft Auto trilogy.

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Netflix's video games strategy is taking off, but the business isn't yet strongly impacting the core subscription model.

Netflix gaming engagement tripled in 2023, not yet material to core business 2

Did you know that Netflix offers free games to all members? The streamer has a variety of mobile games that can be accessed for free. The content selection is growing, and Netflix has plans to eventually bring games to other platforms with the main goal of offered extra value to promote retention (and eventually justify another price increase).

While Netflix's games ambitions have typically seen muted responses from subscribers, everything changed with the free release of the Grand Theft Auto trilogy on mobiles. Suddenly, Netflix was the #1 mobile games company on the App Store and Google Play--and Netflix didn't even make the game, they're only distributing the game's free license.

This popularity led to a 300% engagement spike for Netflix's games. While this doesn't translate directly into revenue, that's not the main goal with the games. Netflix is simply casting out even more hooks in the hope that subscribers will not only become hooked to Netflix's streaming content, but also its games as well.

"While it's still early days for our games offering, engagement tripled last year - and despite games still being small, and certainly not yet material relative to our film and series business, we're pleased with this progress.

"For example, in Q4, we debuted the Grand Theft Auto trilogy from Rockstar Games. This has become our most successful launch to date in terms of installs and engagement, with some consumers clearly signing up simply to play these games."

In a Q4 earnings transcript, Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters goes on to highlight the investments for gaming:

"...We wanted to make sure that we weren't growing that investment significantly before proving to ourselves that we can actually effectively translate that investment into member value. So things are going well.

...It's worth noting that our games investment is very small fraction of our overall content budget right now."

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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