If there was a dollar every time a corporation known for something else tried to step into the gaming industry, we’d only have a couple of dollars. It isn’t much, but it’s strange that it’s happened so often as of late.
Conversely, as the gaming industry has far-surpassed that of film and music combined, perhaps it’s merely a sign of the times: stepping into a booming industry (that the pandemic has frankly helped excel) is a golden rule of investing, and the video game industry is absolutely on fire at the moment.
Rumors have been circulating that Netflix has been tinkering with the possibility of stepping into gaming, much as Amazon has done, although it would likely circulate around the current subscription style of Netflix that Microsoft has adapted well with their Xbox Game Pass.
A lawsuit filed today by @ATVI_AB against Netflix for snagging one of the video gamer giant’s top executives surely must be an unwelcome case of deja voodoo for the streamer#CallofDuty https://t.co/pfJoxb9Uye
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) December 4, 2020
Getting consoles and walled-gardens to cooperate will be another story entirely, of course, but we haven’t seen anything notable taking shape from rumors or otherwise as of yet.
Spencer Neumann was the Chief Financial Officer of Activision beginning in 2017 and, and was under contract to continue working with Activision until 2020.
Activision alleges that Netflix encouraged Neumann to breach his ’employment contract’, and notes that the executive was picked up by Activision the month following his release: Netflix has been known for poaching employees from other corporations, with successful lawsuits historically being filed on behalf of Fox and Viacom regarding employee poaching.
Activision sued Netflix, claiming the video-streaming service engaged in a yearslong campaign of unlawfully poaching executives https://t.co/4NTwyMdE9x
— Bloomberg (@business) December 4, 2020
This being said, it isn’t necessarily the damning evidence that Netflix is actually readying to enter into the gaming subscription business, as much as it might be hoped for currently: a CFO is far and away from a developer (or army of) that would be needed to roll out the infrastructure necessary to facilitate a new streaming service that would run separately from Netflix’s current offerings.
This is compounded by the fact that Neumann has previously held executive roles in both Disney and Providence Equity; far removed from the more mundane building of titles that one would presumably figure when Activision is brought to mind.
Many pundits have stated that this seems like an open and shut case, considering Netflix’s alleged track record of poaching employees and the contract that should have extended to 2020, although the statements regarding the intent to release the executive are likely to be brought to bear within the court.