A recent datamine of the Netflix app has reportedly uncovered some PlayStation imagery, suggesting some kind of partnership between the companies could be in the works.
Dataminer Steve Moser (thanks VGC) claims that they’ve found imagery related to PlayStation products in the code of Netflix’s iOS app and has shared their findings on Twitter. The images show renders of DualSense controllers as well as artwork from Ghost of Tsushima and Moser uncovered them alongside a logo reading ‘N Game’ and a shark fin icon.
Netflix’s gaming feature has a current working name of “Shark” and is represented by this image in their iOS app: a shark fin. Could an image of PS5 controllers and Sony’s Ghost of Tsushima (director’s cut coming Aug. 20th) indicate a partnership with $SONY? Cc @HedgeyeComm $NFLX pic.twitter.com/FLghlRlu20July 15, 2021
According to Moser, ‘Shark’ is the codename for Netflix’s gaming project and they suggest that these images together could potentially “indicate a partnership” with Sony. What form such a partnership could take, however, is unclear.
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Moser’s findings have emerged alongside a recent Bloomberg report (which mentions Moser’s datamining) that Netflix could expand beyond TV and film to add games to its catalogue within the next year, and that it’s hired former EA and Facebook executive, Mike Verdu, in the role of VP of game development as part of this push. According to Bloomberg, games would appear as their own genre of content, much like documentaries and stand-up specials.
The future is unclear
Rumors of Netflix’s interest in moving into gaming have been around for a little while now and as recently as May a Netflix representative told TechRadar the company is “excited to do more with interactive entertainment“, citing the company’s history with “interactive shows like Bandersnatch and You v. Wild, or games based on Stranger Things, La Casa de Papel and To All the Boys.”
In that vein, Netflix is hiring for a Director of Product Innovation, Interactive, hoping that this person will “expand our slate of interactive innovations and capabilities, including but not limited to new types of features, game-like experiences, and different ways of interacting with stories.”
It’s worth noting that Netflix and Sony do already have a relationship, which could also have something to do with these images. Earlier this year Netflix and Sony Pictures Entertainment struck a deal which will see Sony’s movies come exclusively to the streaming platform from 2022 onwards in the US when they're first available to stream. This includes the upcoming Uncharted movie and could even potentially involve Chad Stahelski’s Ghost of Tsushima movie adaptation.
Though these findings are interesting, at the moment Netflix’s plans around gaming remain unclear so it’s all a matter of speculation. Bloomberg’s report states that Netflix “has yet to settle on a game-development strategy” so it might well be a case of having to wait and see where this goes.