Netflix has more than a dozen vacancies on its website for Netflix Games Studio’s Los Angeles office, as noted by Mobilegamer.biz. These lists give us a few hints about the company’s plans for the new studio. Notably, Netflix is hiring a game director to work on “a brand new AAA PC game”.
Last month on londonbusinessblog.com Disrupt, Netflix VP of Gaming Mike Verdu originally announced that his company would be opening a new studio in Southern California. Verdu also said that Chacko Sonny would run the studio. Sonny is the former executive producer of Overwatch.
Son left Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind Overwatch, while the company faced a California sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit, as well as an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He was also responsible for the development of Overwatch 2.
And now it looks like Netflix is looking to assemble the core team for Netflix Games Studio’s first project in Los Angeles. The game director will be in charge of a AAA PC game. That would be the company’s first PC game, as Netflix currently only offers games for smartphones and tablets.
In the video game industry, AAA projects are large games with very large budgets and development teams. The game director will be responsible for developing the “world/characters/stories worthy of a Netflix movie/TV series”. The job posting also mentions experience with Unreal Engine and first-person and/or third-person shooter games.
It seems that there are not that many people working for the studio yet, as Netflix is also looking for an art director and a technical director. There are also job openings for Chief Artists and Chief Engineers.
Netflix views gaming as a long-term project. At londonbusinessblog.com Disrupt, Mike Verdu said that Netflix was still in the early stages of its gaming initiative.
The company currently offers 40 different games. There are spin-off games based on popular Netflix shows like Stranger Things, classic mobile games like runner and race games, card games, and original titles.
Netflix has acquired three existing game studios: Boss Fight Entertainment, Night School Studio (Oxenfree), and Finland’s Next Games. It has also started a new studio in Helsinki, Finland headed by a former Zynga GM.
Right now, Netflix’s business model for games is pretty straightforward. If you are a Netflix subscriber, you can download and play any game in the Netflix game library. If you cancel your Netflix subscription, you will no longer have access to those games.
There are no in-app purchases, season passes, or add-on subscriptions in those games. Of course, Netflix could change its gaming revenue strategy with its new AAA game. But it’s clear that Netflix is in investment mode for now.