Netflix Further Synergizes Its Series and Games Businesses with 'Exploding Kittens'

Netflix's 'Exploding Kittens'
(Image credit: Netflix)

Further eroding the lines between its established original series business and its nascent mobile games operation, Netflix will adapt the popular card game Exploding Kittens into both an animated TV show and a smartphone time-passer. 

Chernin Entertainment took the popular, irreverent card game title (YouTube tutorial here), packaged it up with King of the Hill creators Mike Judge and Greg Daniels as creators, and sold it to Netflix as a fully realized, casted series, expected to premiere on Netflix in 2023, and a mobile game, set to debut next month. 

“The co-development of a game and animated series breaks new ground for Netflix,” said Mike Moon, head of adult animation at Netflix, in a statement. 

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The series will have a "God vs. the Devil" theme and star Tom Ellis (Lucifer), Abraham Lim (The Boys), Lucy Liu (Elementary), Ally Maki (Wrecked), Mark Proksch (Better Call Saul) and Sasheer Zamata (Woke).

Matthew Inman, who co-developed the card game with backing from an $8.7 million Kickstarter campaign, will serve as showrunner, along with Shane Kosakowski (You’re the Worst).

As for the mobile game, Netflix launched its fledgling games business last year, putting it under the guidance of former EA and Facebook executive Mike Verdu.

So far, Netflix has launched a series of iOS and Android games based on simple generic themes -- think Trivia Quest or Shooting Hoops. But there is some cross-synergy, with Stranger Things: 1984 and Stranger Things 3: The Game

Netflix isn't charging users extra to play its games -- anyone with an iPhone (iOS 15.0.0 or higher) or Android mobile device can access them, provided they have the Netflix app. 

Netflix doesn't advertise on its games or charge for any in-game trinkets. 

However, management is probably happy if an easy-to-develop mobile game a) keeps users on the platform; and b) drives them to other content. ■

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!