Netflix Expands Further Into Gaming, Buying Developer Next Games

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Netflix Expands Further Into Gaming, Buying Developer Next Games
Photo by David Balev on Unsplash

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Netflix plans to buy Finnish mobile games developer Next Games for $72 million, the companies announced Wednesday, in a deal that sees the streaming giant continue its push into gaming.


The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of this year and would be Netflix’s second acquisition of a gaming studio in less than six months, following its September acquisition of Glendale-based gaming studio Night School. The streaming service, which has a huge footprint in Los Angeles, has looked to expand its offerings beyond traditional movies and TV shows—launching video games for mobile devices last year and adding interactive movies and shows to its platform.

Founded in 2013, Next Games develops mobile games based on popular entertainment intellectual property, including games inspired by the Netflix hit series “Stranger Things” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” The Helsinki-based firm has roughly 120 employees and reported about $30 million in sales in 2020, with 95% of its revenue coming from in-game purchases in its otherwise free-to-play games, according to the company.

"Next Games has a seasoned management team, strong track record with mobile games based on entertainment franchises and solid operational capabilities," Michael Verdu, Netflix’s vice president of games, said in a statement. "While we're just getting started in games, I am confident that together with Next Games we will be able to build a portfolio of world class games that will delight our members around the world.”

Next Games shareholders will receive 2.10 euros in cash for each share of the company, amounting to a total equity value of about 65 million euros ($72 million). The gaming studio’s board unanimously recommended that the shareholders accept the Netflix offer.

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Cadence

Can Customer Service Set LA’s Newest E-Scooter Startup Apart?

Maylin Tu
Maylin Tu is a freelance writer who lives in L.A. She writes about scooters, bikes and micro-mobility. Find her hovering by the cheese at your next local tech mixer.
Yahya Dabbagh
Image by Maylin Tu

Yahya Dabbagh isn’t your typical micromobility startup CEO.

For one, he takes a personal approach to customer service. When he feels a rider is trying to game the system by reporting a scooter broken, in order to earn a free unlock (valued at $1), Dabbagh sometimes will call them up.

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This Year’s Techstars’ Demo Day Included Robot Bartenders and Towable Rockets

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

This Year’s Techstars’ Demo Day Included Robot Bartenders and Towable Rockets
Andria Moore

On Wednesday, Techstars’ fall 2022 class gathered in Downtown Los Angeles to pitch their products to potential investors in hopes of securing their next big funding round. dot.LA co-sponsored the demo day presentation alongside Venice-based space news website Payload.

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Derek Jeter’s Sports Trading Card Company Brings in $10M

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is dot.LA's 2022/23 Editorial Fellow. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

sports trading cards
Arena Club /Andria Moore

Sports trading card platform Arena Club has raised $10 million in Series A funding.

Co-founded by CEO Brian Lee and Hall of Fame Yankees player Derek Jeter, Arena Club launched its digital showroom in September. Through the platform, sports fans can buy, sell, trade and display their card collections. Using computer vision and machine learning, Arena Club allows fans to grade and authenticate their cards, which can be stored in the company’s vault or delivered in protective “slabs.” Arena Club intends to use the new cash to expand these functions and scale its operations.

The new funding brings Arena Club’s total amount raised to $20 million. M13, defy.vc, Lightspeed Ventures, Elysian Park Ventures and BAM Ventures contributed to the round.

“Our team is thankful for the group of investors—led by M13, who see the bright future of the trading card hobby and our platform,” Lee said in a statement. “I have long admired M13 and the value they bring to early-stage startups.”

M13’s co-founder Courtney Reum, who formed the early-stage consumer technology venture firm in 2016 alongside his brother Carter Reum, will join Arena Club’s board. Reum has been eyeing the trading card space since 2020 when he began investing in what was once just a childhood hobby.

The sports trading card market surged in 2020 as fans turned to the hobby after the pandemic brought live events to a standstill. Since then, prices have come down, though demand remains high. And investors are still betting on trading card companies, with companies like Collectors bringing in $100 million earlier this year. Fanatics, which sells athletic collectibles and trading cards, reached a $31 billion valuation after raising $700 million earlier this week. On the blockchain, Tom Brady’s NFT company Autograph lets athletes sell digital collectibles directly to fans.

As for Arena Club, the company is looking to cement itself as a digital card show.

“Providing users with a digital card show allows us to use our first-class technology to give collectors from all over the world the luxury of being able to get the full trading card show experience at their fingertips,” Jeter said in a statement.

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