The games will not include advertising or in-app purchases, although Netflix plans to keep the titles blocked for subscribers only. Ubisoft has refused to share how it will earn revenue in the partnership. The Assassin’s Creed title is intended to cross-promote the live action TV series, first announced in 2020.
“Netflix doesn’t take many big shots like this, but when it does, it supports them and is committed to making them happen. And they understand that the journey could be long, especially with games, where it takes years to create games, ”said Mike Verdu, vice president of games at Netflix, of the company’s approach to games in an interview with the Washington Post.
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Market analysts highlighted the low adoption rates of Netflix games, as reported by a third-party app analysis company. Netflix has refused to share how many users are playing its games.
“Netflix has so far managed to convince only 1.7 million people among its 221 million subscribers to play on its platform daily,” said Joost van Dreunen, professor of gaming business at NYU Stern School of Business. “This is a relatively low conversion rate and the reason why Netflix will claim it’s been playing for a long time. He runs the risk of spending a lot of money on content that doesn’t significantly improve his business, especially considering the absence of clear revenue models for any of the titles announced by Ubisoft. “
On September 6, Ubisoft announced that Chinese gaming giant Tencent has invested approximately $ 304 million in its main stakeholder. The two companies have a strategic partnership, covering the development of some Ubisoft mobile games, as well as the launch of PC titles in China.
Although Ubisoft has released dozens of mobile games in the past, it often shuts down services for them over time. Of the dozen Assassin’s Creed mobile titles published by Ubisoft, the only one currently available for the Android and Apple operating systems is the role-playing adventure game “Assassin’s Creed Rebellion”. Ubisoft shut down “Mighty Quest for Epic Loot” in 2016 after thanking players for their time.
“Of course, for every game there is a cycle. So we could end a game when there aren’t enough users to enter the game, “said Jean-Michel Detoc, Ubisoft’s chief mobile officer.” We see potential for replayability of [the upcoming] games that can last for very long years “.
Detoc added that Ubisoft has decided to move forward with these franchises after discussing with Netflix what suits its audience best.
“We think Valiant Hearts is really something that can appeal to Netflix’s large audience,” said Detoc. “Sara [set] in the First World War and will be the continuation of the previous one. This linear, narrative game can really suit users. “
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Netflix’s Verdu said that players of his games enjoy all different genres and have different tastes.
“Our best games are very different. What you can say is that it is an audience that appreciates variety. When you look at Assassin’s Creed, it’s pretty obvious why we’d like to work with Ubisoft to bring it to the platform, “Verdu said.” We’re looking for games and franchises that have lasting value and a special place in people’s hearts that could not having been a perfect fit with the ruthless free-to-play game ecosystem. “
Netflix games live within its mobile streaming app and have an inelegant solution around Apple’s no app stores within its app store rule: users can click a game on the Netflix app, then be redirected to the App Store to download the game. If users already own the titles, tapping the game icons within the Netflix app will launch those games.
Verdu admitted that Netflix didn’t market its games very prominently. The title row is only visible when users scroll down on the mobile app.
“You will see some changes in the coming months that will give games a slightly higher profile on the service, which is good,” Verdu said, referring to Netflix’s plans to improve its mobile gaming platform.
He added that, in the long run, Netflix would like to use its algorithmic recommendations for which it is known with TV shows and movies to serve audience members on gaming suggestions.
“We think with great customization and recommendation we can put games in front of them that are very relevant to our members and that will actually unlock discovery in the long run, in a really profound way,” Verdu said. “That said, it will be a long time before you see that flower on the platform.”
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