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Spry Fox becomes Netflix's fourth gaming studio acquisition

Illustration of an 8-bit video game screen with a Netflix logo.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Spry Fox, a Seattle-based cozy game developer, became Netflix's fourth gaming studio acquisition since the streaming giant launched its gaming business a year ago.

Why it's the matter: Netflix built up its streaming business by paying studios to stream their content. With gaming, it's now just buying those studios outright.

The big picture: Netflix's gaming push has been slow going so far — just 1% of subscribers are engaging with the games on a daily basis, according to a recent study.

  • Acquiring a studio like Spry Fox — which is in the "cozy games" genre with games like Triple Town, Alphabear and Cozy Grove — is part of its strategy of appealing to multiple types of gamers.
  • Earlier acquisitions include Night School, Next Games and Boss Fight. Netflix has also opened in-house studios in Helsinki and Los Angeles.
  • During TechCrunch Disrupt, Netflix gaming chief Mike Verdu said the streamer was "seriously exploring a cloud gaming offering," similar to Google's just-shut-down Stadia and Amazon's Luna.

💭 Thought bubble: Axios Gaming's Stephen Totilo says these are veteran mobile specialists, so this tracks with the mobile-centric game strategy Netflix has launched with.

  • After Google bailed early on the studios it acquired or was building, its Stadia service was all but doomed. Exclusive content, after all, is essential to a  platform's success.
  • Netflix's more patient approach is more promising for players, for Netflix and for anyone running a small studio who might be looking for a buyer.
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