Hulu and Xbox have announced a partnership deal that gives existing US Hulu customers three months of PC Game Pass free as part of the Hulu “Friends with Benefits” initiative. The move to target gamers comes after Netflix’s foray into the gaming market, where streamers have made several ad-free mobile games a part of their subscription service.
However, the Hulu and Xbox offering is a limited-time deal — not a new gaming initiative. The companies said this current offer is redeemable till July 23, 2022 and is only valid for PC Game Pass and not Game Pass Ultimate. It can only be redeemed by Hulu customers in the US for the new Game Pass.
This seems to be the first time that Hulu has struck a deal like this with a gaming company. Xbox teamed up with Disney+, another Disney streaming service, in 2020 to give Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers a free month of Disney+.
Hulu wrote in a statement, “At Hulu, every decision we make begins with the viewer. We do this through the stories we bring to life, and Hulu subscribers to their favorite shows, offers the opportunity to engage with movies and brands with select perks and activities, including the ‘Hulu Friends with Benefits’ initiative, Hulu’s way of thanking you. Just being a fan – because that’s what friends are for
Normally, PC Game Pass costs $9.99 per month, so this offer is a chance for PC gamers to try out over 100 different games, including titles like Minecraft, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Forza Horizon 5, Halo, and more. The same includes access to EA Play. Games like The Sims 4, It Takes Two and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. PC Game Pass also gives access to many new games on the same day they are released at retail. Xbox said in its announcement that more games would be revealed in the next three months.
While hardcore gamers prefer to play on consoles, there are a surprising amount of dedicated PC gamers. Statista shows there are 1.77 billion of them globally, and the number is expected to grow, potentially exceeding 1.9 billion in 2024.
Insider Intelligence, on the other hand, believes that the number of PC gamers will only decline in 2022, and mobile games will dominate. This may explain why Netflix turned to mobile games instead of PC. Mobile gaming is another impressive competitor in the gaming space, and Netflix has catered to this demographic of more casual, on-the-go gamers. According to Apptopia, Netflix’s mobile games have been installed more than 8 million times since its launch.
In March, Netflix announced Into the Dead 2: Unleashed, its only first-person shooter title, which could broaden its appeal to more gaming enthusiasts. In addition, Business Insider pointed to an older Netflix job listing, which may have indicated plans for the company to expand into console and PC gaming. The job listing was for a video game tech artist and stated that the ideal candidate had “shipped three or more console or PC games as an engineer or equivalent.”
Its League of Legends animated series “Arcane” was a hit for streamers, so it’s no shock that its game Hextec Mayhem, licensed from developer Riot Games, has enjoyed some success with 58% of League of Legends fans in the US. . Per Interpret data, to subscribe to Netflix compared to other streaming services. Fifty-five percent of all gamers choose to subscribe to the streamer while 27% and 16% of gamers choose Hulu’s ad-supported plan and ad-free tier, respectively.
Overall, Netflix has 221 million global subscribers and disappointed shareholders with a loss of 200,000 subscribers in its most recent quarterly earnings report. For Q2 2022, total combined subscriptions for Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ exceeded 205 million, with Hulu contributing 45.6 million subscriptions.
While there’s no indication that Hulu will take the same path as Netflix, it’s interesting that more streaming services have begun to follow each other down the gaming rabbit hole.