After the excitement of E3 back in June, July felt like a much more subdued month for the games industry. Still, it was a big month for handheld gamers, as we got an announcement of a new portable console from Valve and a refresh of the Nintendo Switch. Behind the scenes there were some interesting updates from the likes of Netflix, Amazon, and Instagram. Here are our top picks of the biggest stories of July.
Netflix to start offering mobile games
In their Q2 earnings call, it was revealed that the world’s most popular TV and streaming service would soon start offering mobile games included as part of its monthly subscription. The move comes as Netflix reported a slowdown in new subscribers, following the easing of pandemic restrictions.
It’s a bold move for the company, and while Netflix had been open about their ambitions of getting into games for some time, few were expecting it to come in this form. The service will undoubtedly pose big competition to Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass, as Netflix’s sizable install base gets instant access to gaming content. If successful, Netflix games will make their way to consoles in the near future. There are still a lot of unknowns around this move, but we are excited to see what happens next.
Amazon’s New World Beta attracts 200,000 players
Amazon’s biggest video games project to date, the massively multiplayer role-playing game New World, has attracted a whopping 200,000 players in its closed beta. The beta’s first week saw full servers and queues to get into the game, emphasising just how much buzz was surrounding it.
The game has proved popular on Twitch as well, jumping to the number one spot within 24 hours of the beta opening, beating out popular titles like Grand Theft Auto V and Call of Duty: Warzone. With the 31 August release date close at hand, Amazon Games could be very close to their first hit game.
Instagram to shift focus to video
In social media news, it looks like the photo-sharing app Instagram is going to widen its aims to focus more on video and shopping, according to an update from company head Adam Mosseri. The four key areas the firm will be focusing on are creators, video, shopping, and messaging.
Mosseri made no bones about the fact that he wants Instagram to compete with TikTok, and in doing so, the firm will expand its video sharing options soon, adding features including a full-screen option. He also mentioned that the app will be adding topics, so users can follow certain topics of interest rather than following individual creators.
More than half of American households own a console
The Consumer Technology Association has reported that more than 50% of American households now own a games console, representing a 10% increase from the previous year. A further 30% said that they plan to buy a console in the next year, further emphasising the growing popularity of gaming in the post-pandemic world.