Netflix has announced plans to launch its own dedicated video game studio in Helsinki, Finland.
The new studio will be helmed by Marko Lastikka, who served as vice president and general manager at Zynga games for the past five years, most recently working on the viral franchise Farmville. Before that, he was and executive producer and general manager at Electronic Arts (EA).
The announcement was made by Netflix vp of game studios Amir Rahimi, who explained:
This is another step in our vision to build a world-class games studio that will bring a variety of delightful and deeply engaging original games — with no ads and no in-app purchases — to our hundreds of millions of members around the world.
The bespoke studio will be built from the ground up as the second Netflix games studio in Helsinki. Netflix had previously purchased a trio of game studios, including fellow Finish outfit Next Games. The company’s other game studio acquisitions were Night School Studio in Glendale, California in September 2021 and Boss Fight Entertainment in Allen, Texas in March of this year.
“These four studios, each with different strengths and focus areas, will develop games that will suit the diverse tastes of our members,” Rahimi explained.
Netflix currently has a catalog of more than 25 exclusive original games which are included as part of a standard Netflix membership.
The platform’s gaming phase is still in its infancy, so there isn’t a lot of data available yet and milestones are difficult to contextualize. However in June of this year, mobile analytics group Sensor Tower reported that Netflix had amassed more than 13 million downloads of its games. The most popular Netflix game to that point was Stranger Things 1984, which was downloaded more than 2 million times. Netflix’s flagpole Stranger Things franchise was also responsible for the company’s third most popular mobile game, Stranger Things 3: The Game, downloaded 1.5 million times.
The Sensor Tower estimates did not include downloads of the original release of Stranger Things: The Game from BonusXP, as it was not a Netflix Games title. When the game was removed from app stores in 2021 and migrated to Netflix Games, it had been downloaded 13.8 million times.
Summing up his thoughts and looking towards the future, Rahimi finished the announcement explaining that:
It’s still early days, and we have much more work to do to deliver a great games experience on Netflix. Creating a game can take years, so I’m proud to see how we’re steadily building the foundation of our games studios in our first year, and look forward to sharing what we produce in the coming years.
Pictured at top: Asphalt Xtreme, Stranger Things: 1984, Relic Hunters: Rebels