Netflix is tripling down on its mission to be more than a streaming service. The platform and production company is also a burgeoning video game developer. On Monday, as an expansion of the company’s foray into gaming, Netflix announced it has acquired Spry Fox—a formerly independent game-maker based in Seattle. The developer is the sixth addition to Netflix’s list of in-house gaming studios, according to the company’s press release.
Spry Fox is known for its cutesy, often pastel-hued games. Its most popular titles include the strategy puzzle Triple Town, word game Alphabear, and life-sim Cozy Grove. “We look forward to creating games with a studio whose values — a relentless focus on employee and player joy — align closely with ours,” wrote Amir Rahimi, VP of Netflix’s game studios, in the announcement.
Netflix first declared its intention to enter the game sphere in July 2021. Just a couple of months later, it had bought its first studio: Night School. Then, it began releasing phone games, to be played in the Netflix app (note: It’s first attempts were...not great.)
Since those first few clunky months, the company has significantly expanded its suite of available games for mobile play. Not all of them are winners, but there are currently 35 titles to choose from, ranging from RPGs to racing to adventure options. Many of the games are based on popular Netflix shows like Stranger Things or the baking competition Nailed It, and there’s apparently some version of something for everyone on the list. Moreover, Netflix has an additional 55 games already in development, according to its most recent quarterly earnings report.
Games are currently ad-less with a Netflix subscription, and there’s no apparent monetization push being implemented yet. But a big part of the company’s game strategy comes down to building another revenue stream for its intellectual property from shows and movies. Netflix seems eager to multiply viewers through gaming and vice versa. In a shareholder letter from earlier this month, the company cited the boost that the Cyberpunk 2077 videogame got from the premiere of Netflix’s Cyberpunk: Edgerunners anime series.
However, so far the company’s desire for gaming/viewing synergy has yet to materialize. Only about 1% of Netflix’s ~220 million subscribers are playing the company’s games, according to August data from analytics firm Apptopia. But maybe if they buy up just one more indie studio, that’ll change.