Afterparty Afterparty

Netflix has bought Night School Studio, an indie game developer based in Glendale, California. The acquisition isn’t quite Roald Dahl-sized, but it is a statement of intent from the streamer as it ventures into gaming.

Night School was founded in 2014 by Sean Krankel and Adam Hines. It is behind the well-received games Oxenfree, Afterparty, and Next Stop Nowhere, as well as mobile game Mr. Robot (which is based on USA Network’s series of the same name).

“We’re inspired by their bold mission to set a new bar for storytelling in games,” said Mike Verdu, Netflix’s vp of game development, about Night School. “Their commitment to artistic excellence and proven track record make them invaluable partners as we build out the creative capabilities and library of Netflix games together.”

Netflix is still new to this field: it only hired Verdu, a former EA and Oculus executive, in July. Its first games — two titles based on its hit show Stranger Things — were rolled out to Android users in Poland last month. (It’s worth noting that Night School was previously involved in an aborted Stranger Things game.)

The initiative has now expanded to Spain and Italy, and three more games have been added: Shooting Hoops, Card Blast, and Teeter Up. All are available as part of existing subscriptions. Games are launched in the Netflix app, but users are then taken to separate apps to play.

There are no ads or in-game purchases. This is key to the platform’s appeal to game developers, Netflix COO Greg Peters told investors in July:

We’re finding that many game developers really like that concept and that focus and this idea of being able to put all of their creative energy into just great gameplay and not having to worry about those other considerations that they have typically had to trade off with just making compelling games.

It’s unclear when games will become available outside these three territories.


Image at top: Night School’s game “Afterparty.”

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