Netflix’s Casino-style Games Could Hint at a Weird Future
Believe it or not, Netflix provides games to play deep within its digital depths. While far from the same quality and sophistication as those offered by EA, Valve, or Ubisoft, for instance, their appearance has nevertheless ignited a debate regarding the whys and hows of their existence. The fact that one of these games – Gameloft’s Asphalt Xtreme – has been brought back to life after being out of operation since 2017 makes Netflix’s new hobby seem all the more strange.
Of course, everybody has an idea about the purpose behind these tiny time killers. Say what you will about Elon Musk’s Boring Company selling 20,000 flamethrowers back in 2018, but large businesses rarely do anything on such a bizarre whim (or to generate memes, as the case may be). This means that Netflix likely has something on the horizon, something that could potentially help the streaming platform slay the proverbial Goliaths in the form of Disney+, Prime Video, and NowTV, among others.
Let’s step back a bit. Plenty of entertainment platforms have added casino-style games, even if they don’t have any real-money requirements. Sony, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Apple are no strangers to this type of gaming, with poker, in particular, enjoying some popularity on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. In fact, casino games have been present on home consoles since the days of the Atari 2600 (1978) and the UK’s hugely popular ZX Spectrum, created by Sir Clive Sinclair in (1982).
Why? They’re very easy to program. Slots, at their most basic, are served by a bit of code that pulls up three random numbers in a row. These numbers denote which symbol appears on the reels. Add a bit more detail and you can make a computer play a sound or give out a reward when certain combinations of pictures are shown. In reality, with modern security measures, network capabilities, and advanced random number generators, slots can be a pretty intense undertaking for would-be developers.
For the above reason, most casinos get their games from external companies. A prime example of this is the SuperSeven online casino, which features slots from the likes of Pragmatic Play (Big Bass Bonanza Megaways), Play N Go (Reactoonz 2), Microgaming (9 Masks of Fire: Hyperspins), and Relax Gaming (Money Train 2), a situation that means that gameplay variety can be provided to players as a default. Regardless of what their innards look like, though, slots are still one of the simplest games to play out there.
Netflix hasn’t installed casino games into its platform, except with the possible exception of Card Blast, a part-luck, part-skill-based title. However, all but three of its seven games follow the same formula as the new, modern slots that casinos have been testing on millennial audiences. Games like Scientific Games’ Space Invaders, Beat Square Tournament (Konami), and Arkanoid, from Next Gaming.
A casino wouldn’t be dramatically out of sync with Netflix’s existing content. The company has – or has had – plenty of gambling movies in its movie carousel, including Rounders, Lay the Favourite, the Ocean’s series of films, Mississippi Grind, and the Sam Rothstein biopic Casino.
It’ll be a long while off, if, indeed, Netflix is trialling something unique, but there’s always some fun to be had in speculating.
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