Now Playing on Netflix: Your Teenager

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Movies and video games have been intrinsically linked for years — by both the arcade machines still found in lobbies of your local multiplex and the hundreds of games based on big-screen adventures (who can forget GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64?).

On Wednesday, Netflix announced plans to cash in on that connection — and add to it — by buying its second video game studio in six months. The streaming giant will spend more than $70 million on Finland-based studio Next Games, creator of games based on Netflix’s Stranger Things franchise.

Ready Player One

Netflix launched its own gaming service, creatively named Netflix Games, in November. The company’s paying subscribers can download titles to their smartphones or tablets, and the acquisition of game studios will allow it to create bespoke content just like it does for streaming film and television. In some cases, those games will be used to enhance the company’s existing high-profile IP:

  • As well as a Stranger Things-themed puzzle game, Next Games created two The Walking Dead games for AMC — the network, which licenses all 10 seasons of the popular zombie show to Netflix, happens to be Next Games’ largest shareholder and said it approves of the sale.
  • In September, Netflix bought Night School Studios, creator of the supernatural teen thriller Oxenfree, around the same time it released Stranger Things: 1984, Stranger Things 3: The Game, Card Blast, Teeter Up, and Shooting Hoops which are now available on iOS and Android devices.

Get In the Gaming: Netflix isn’t the only streamer looking to the nearly $180 billion video games industry as a source of users and income. Amazon and Apple have increased their investments in video games, while Oculus owner Meta is becoming one of the top destinations for live-streaming video game content.

This One Time…: While gaming studios are a hot acquisition target, at least one is asserting itself in the role of buyer. Epic Games, creator of worldwide sensation Fortnight, announced Wednesday that it’s acquiring music download site Bandcamp, possibly creating a battle royale not seen since the WWF’s take on Land of 1,000 Dances.