Story update–On November 9, 2021, Netflix’s mobile games were also available on iOS.
“Let the games begin” announced Netflix Tuesday. After teasing subscribers and gamers for months with the promise of gaming, the streaming giant has officially launched Netflix mobile games for Android, creating a broader entertainment experience for subscribers at no additional cost.
“All you need is a Netflix subscription — there’s no ads, no additional fees and no in-app purchases. (Don’t let the demogorgon tell you otherwise),” said Mike Verdu, VP of game development for Netflix, in a November 2, 2021 blog post. “We’re in the early days of creating a great gaming experience, and we’re excited to take you on this journey with us.”
News of a video game service came out in July with the hiring of Verdu who has a background in gaming from Electronic Arts Inc. and Facebook. At that time, Netflix didn’t reveal details of the forthcoming video game service, except to say that it would come sometime next year. The release of mobile games now is ahead of schedule.
Five games available at launch
At launch, subscribers can play five different mobile games on their Android phones or tablets:
- Stranger Things: 1984 (BonusXP)
- Stranger Things 3: The Game (BonusXP)
- Shooting Hoops (Frosty Pop)
- Card Blast (Amuzo & Rogue Games)
- Teeter Up (Frosty Pop)
How to access mobile games
Once logged into their Netflix profile on their Android mobile phone, subscribers will see a dedicated games row and a games tab where they can choose a game to download. Android tablet users will also have a dedicated games row. To access games, they will choose a game from the categories in a drop down menu to download and play.
[Editor’s note: Netflix said the games are available on Android everywhere when subscribers log into their Netflix account. I tried it and did not see any games on my mobile phone.]
Multiple languages: Playing to their international audience, Netflix offers game in many languages. Games will default to the language listed in the user’s profile. If a specific language is not yet available, games will default to English.
Available for all account profiles except kids’ profiles: Each profile in a subscriber’s account can play Netflix’s mobile games, except for kids. If an account hits the maximum number of devices available, they can log out of Netflix on the device to free up a slot, or they can go to Netflix.com to disconnect a specific device. If a parent has set up a PIN to access a child’s profile, that same PIN will be required to unlock games.
Downloadable: Some Netflix mobile games will require an internet connection, while others can be downloaded and played offline, ideal for travel or areas with spotty WiFi.
“Just like our series, films and specials, we want to design games for any level of play and every kind of player, whether you’re a beginner or a lifelong gamer,” Verdu said. “And we’re just getting started. We’re excited to continue improving our mobile gaming experience and adding to our entertainment offering in the months ahead.”
This is one of many recent strategic moves by Netflix to expand beyond their core streaming product. A mobile game product – even with a limited number of games – differentiates the streaming giant from competitors like Disney+, HBO Max and Hulu. It also diversifies their revenue streams to help offset slowing subscriber growth. Verdu’s indicates this is just the beginning with more games and iOS to come – effectively a soft launch. We are eager to see how Netflix uses games to attract and retain subscribers and if/how this will change their business model over time. Will other streamers follow?