Across the past few months, the news came out that Netflix is entering the video game market. Reporting indicated that the tentative plan was to add streaming games as an extra programming genre to Netflix subscriptions for no additional cost. A lot of other details were left in flux though. However, those plans got a bit clearer today: Netflix has acquired Night School Studio, the developer of Oxenfree and Afterparty, marking the first video game developer acquisition by the streaming behemoth. Additionally, Mike Verdu, Netflix vice president of game development, revealed this important nugget: “Like our shows and films, these games will all be included as part of your Netflix membership — all with no ads and no in-app purchases.”
Night School Studio founder and creative director Sean Krankel also announced the acquisition by Netflix at the developer website. Night School Studio currently comprises 21 employees, and Krankel called it a “surreal honor” to join Netflix as its first video game developer and become part of such a massive entertainment platform. The team is extremely excited — though also still focused on developing Oxenfree II: Lost Signals. Here is a relevant excerpt of what else Krankel said:
As of today, Night School Studio is joining the Netflix team.
Over the last few months, we’ve had countless thoughtful chats about our respective visions for where we see games, storytelling, and our collective opportunity for positive impact somewhere in the middle.
Night School wants to stretch our narrative and design aspirations across distinctive, original games with heart. Netflix gives film, TV, and now game makers an unprecedented canvas to create and deliver excellent entertainment to millions of people. Our explorations in narrative gameplay and Netflix’s track record of supporting diverse storytellers was such a natural pairing. It felt like both teams came to this conclusion instinctively.
Netflix is reportedly not in a rush to continue buying up video game developers, preferring to act methodically, so the Night School acquisition could be the only purchase we hear about for a while. To date, the developer is best known for supernatural adventure Oxenfree, which garnered various award nominations and was praised for its unique atmosphere.