Netflix cloud gaming plans detailed in multiple job listings – Protocol
Hello, and welcome to Protocol Entertainment, your guide to the business of the gaming and media industries. This Thursday, we’re taking a closer look at Netflix’s cloud gaming plans and Trigger’s newest AR app. Plus: AI-generated grunge album covers.
Netflix’s cloud gaming plans
Netflix has been keeping its cards close to its chest when it comes to its nascent gaming initiative: The company has been quietly releasing a couple games a month, with plans to grow its catalog to around 50 titles by the end of the year.
Thus far, all releases have been mobile games, and many are older titles that Netflix is exclusively re-releasing without ads. There haven’t been any blockbusters yet, but Netflix’s “Stranger Things”-themed games in particular have done well. Netflix subscribers downloaded more of the company’s games in July than ever before, as new data Sensor Tower exclusively shared with Protocol shows.
But Netflix games have been little more than a practice run up until this point. The company is trying to figure out what games work best with its members, how to surface those titles in its catalog and how it can best spend its money on future projects developed in-house — a bit like it learned the fundamentals of streaming with licensed movies and shows before it began to massively grow that business with its own originals.
Cloud gaming could play a major role in that next phase, according to new Netflix job listings I recently stumbled upon.
- A recent listing for a security product manager mentions “experience with cloud gaming challenges, threat vectors, infrastructure and client requirements” as a preferred qualification.
- A couple of the company’s recent job listings are asking for “experience building games for early or unfinished platforms.”
- And if that was too opaque, a listing for a rendering engineer spells out the company’s cloud plans in a lot more detail, stating explicitly that this person will “support our cloud gaming service.”
- “In this role, you will help optimize the rendering of games so we can render multiple games on our cloud gaming appliances,” the listing reads. “You will also assist with the development of SDKs to enable game developers to succeed in writing high-quality games for the Netflix cloud games ecosystem.”
Cloud gaming makes a lot of sense for Netflix. Not only would it allow the company to bring its games to the TV screen without having to rely on game consoles alone, the cloud is also an environment Netflix is very familiar with.
- Netflix was one of the first companies to outsource all of its infrastructure to the cloud, shutting down its last data center in 2016.
- In addition to being a major customer of Amazon’s AWS cloud platform, Netflix also spent years building out its own Open Connect CDN, which relies on custom-build appliances the company has been gifting to ISPs and strategically placing in internet exchanges around the world.
- Since launching Open Connect in 2011, Netflix has deployed over 14,000 of its appliances in more than 1,000 ISP data centers and more than 80 internet exchange locations around the world, according to a report the company released last year.
Could Netflix be building a similar edge-centric infrastructure for gaming? There are some early signs that the company has at least been exploring this approach.