Netflix has come up with more than a dozen to-do lists on its website for the Netflix Games Studio office in Los Angeles, discovered by Mobilegamer.biz. These lists give us a few hints about the company’s plans for the new studio. In particular, Netflix is hiring a game director to work on “a brand new AAA PC game.”
Last month at TechCrunch Disrupt, Netflix Vice President of Gaming Mike Verdu initially announced that his company would be opening a new studio in Southern California. Verdu also said that Chacko Sonny will lead the studio. Sonny is the former executive producer of Overwatch.
sonny left Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind Overwatch, while it is settling a lawsuit in California over sexual harassment and discrimination as well as an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He is also in charge of Overwatch 2 development.
And now it looks like Netflix wants to assemble the core team for the original Netflix Games Studio project in Los Angeles. The game director will be in charge of an AAA PC game. That will be the company’s first PC game as Netflix currently only offers the game for smartphones and tablets.
In the video game industry, AAA projects are big games with huge budgets and development teams. The game director will be responsible for developing the “world/character/story worthy of a Netflix movie/TV series”. The job listing also mentions experience with the Unreal Engine as well as first-person and/or third-person shooter games.
There doesn’t seem to be many people working for the studio as Netflix is also looking for an art director and technical director. There are also job listings for lead artists and principal engineers.
Netflix sees gaming as a long-term project. At TechCrunch Disrupt, Mike Verdu said that Netflix is still in the early stages of its gaming initiative.
Current company offers 40 different games. There are spin-offs based on popular Netflix shows like Stranger Things, classic mobile games like running and racing games, card games, and original titles.
Netflix acquires three existing game studios — Boss fighting entertainment, Night School (Oxenfree) and Finland Next game. It also started a new studio in Helsinki, Finland with a former Zynga GM at the top.
Currently, Netflix’s game business model is quite simple. If you’re a Netflix subscriber, you can download and play all the games in the Netflix game library. If you stop your Netflix subscription, you won’t be able to access those games anymore.
There are no in-app purchases, season tickets, or add-on subscriptions in those games. Of course, Netflix could change its game revenue strategy with the new AAA game. But it’s clear that Netflix is currently in investment mode.