11 NOV 2021

What is behind Netflix's interest in gaming?

According to estimates from Statista, digital gaming revenue amounted to $134 billion worldwide last year, exceeding the combined total for digital video, music and publishing.

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Last week, Netflix made its official presentation in the world of gaming with the international launch of five free mobile games within its platform: “Stranger Things: 1984,” “Stranger Things 3: The game,” “Shooting Hoops,” “Card Blast,” and “Teeter (Up)”.

“We view gaming as another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original films, animation and unscripted TV,”  the company wrote in its letter to shareholders in its Q2 earnings report in July. In fact, Netflix has long viewed gaming as a major competitor in the battle for their users’ time – sleep is another one, according to its CEO, Reed Hastings.

But not only is gaming the favorite pastime of tens of millions of people around the world, it is also the biggest digital entertainment sector from a monetary perspective, by far. According to estimates from Statista’s Digital Market Outlook, digital gaming revenue amounted to $134 billion worldwide last year, exceeding the combined total for digital video, music and publishing.

“While Netflix’s gaming push is still in its very early stages, the streamer’s ambitions are big and its pockets are deep, as its highly successful push into original scripted content has proven over the years,”  said Felix Richter, Data Journalist at Statista.

A common misconception about video games is that they are for a young, predominantly male audience only. However, according to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), playing video games is neither a pastime for the youth nor is it male-dominated. Quite the opposite, in fact: 41% of all gamers in the United States are female and the average age range for video game players is 35 to 44 years.

According to the ESA, there are more than 214 million video game players in the United States. This explains why video games have grown into the largest and fastest-growing entertainment sector in recent years. In 2020 alone, people spent more than $50 billion on video game content, hardware and accessories across all platforms, according to the NPD Group.