Netflix said on Thursday that it was buying Boss Fight Entertainment, a small independent video game studio based in Allen, Texas, as the video streaming company pushes further into the lucrative video game market.
The acquisition of Boss Fight, a mobile game developer with 130 employees, is Netflix’s third studio purchase since it set its sights on the gaming industry last summer. The company bought a studio called Night School in September, and this month it bought Next Games. Netflix would not say how much it paid for Boss Fight.
Netflix has far fewer development studios compared with companies like Microsoft and Sony, which produce gaming consoles and hit titles like Halo and Spider-Man. And its acquisitions have been narrower in scope.
But the deals point up Netflix’s emerging strategy as it aims to catch up to its competitors. Even Google and Amazon, also big tech companies trying to break into the gaming world, have a head start on Netflix.
Mike Verdu, who was brought on to lead Netflix’s gaming push after working at Facebook and Electronic Arts, said Netflix intended to distinguish itself using the brand appeal of its shows, which could be turned into games. A game based on a Netflix hit could interest gamers purely through name recognition, even if Netflix does not yet have a reputation for making popular game titles.
Netflix executives believe the company can offer a connection between its popular streaming shows and related games “and stories that they love in between seasons of a show or in between movies,” Mr. Verdu said in an interview. He said Netflix would eventually create new, original games, rather than rely solely on buying games made by outside studios.
Other big tech companies had early failures in gaming. Amazon’s first gaming offerings were widely criticized, and Google, after lofty promises, gave up on designing its own games last year.
Mr. Verdu said Netflix’s expansion would be slow and careful. He compared it to the company’s struggles before eventually finding breakthrough television series in the streaming business like “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.”
“It took a while for the company to reach the point,” he said, where “these original shows just broke through and you saw the promise of original content and the promise of streaming come together in this magic moment.”