News, Technology

A Return to Netflix Gaming

Kenton Reynolds

Kenton Reynolds, Writer

There’s a new feature to the familiar Netiflix app; Games. We look into how it works, why it’s there and what this means for the future of the platform.

An initial release of two games on Netflix arrived back in August 2021 but only in Poland. November 9th, last year, we saw the service rolled out worldwide with a slightly wider selection of games to play.

Originally, the only two games were ‘Stranger Things: 1984’ and ‘Stranger Things 3’, two role-playing games based on the hit show and fuelled by the nostalgia that made the show so popular. Upon the worldwide rollout they had bumped the number of games to six with the additions of ‘Teeter (Up)’, ‘Card Blast’, ‘Shooting Hoops’ and ‘Bowling Ballers’. After just over two months there are now over 50 games from across a variety of genres. The collection includes some fairly popular apps like ‘Reigns’ and ‘Heads Up’; classics including ‘Solitaire’ and ‘Mahjong’; and companions to other Netflix-owned or partnered shows including ‘Narcos: Cartel Wars Unlimited’, ‘Too Hot to Handle: Love is a Game’ and ‘SpongeBob: Get Cooking’ to name just a few.

Adding this feature seems to serve two key functions for Netflix. Primarily, it is a next step in creating a single centralized service that will keep users within the Netflix app. Perhaps if Netflix Games garners some success we can expect the introduction of other features that will keep users inside the Netflix app. 

Moreover, Netflix Games puts the streaming platform into a new market that seems to be dominated – currently –  by the Apple Arcade (a monthly subscription to premium games on the App Store). Netflix has advantages over Apple though, chiefly in its price. Apple charges £4.99/month whereas for £6.99/month you can subscribe to Netflix’s streaming service – a collection of over 4000 movies and 1800 tv shows – with the Games included. However, it does lose out in terms of variety of games although this may not be a problem that lasts with the quantity of options on Netflix Games growing rapidly at the moment.

The introduction of these features comes on the back of a huge drop in share prices in April of the year it was introduced. After enjoying a boom during the Coronavirus lockdowns, the globe’s return to normality has been less than pleasant for Neflix who have had to deal with a drop in streams and new users. The introduction of Netflix Games could be the injection that the platform needs to bump itself back up to previous level and recover from its post-boom blues.

Netflix is sure to add more games and more features to its platform in the coming months. You can access the games on the usual Netflix app but only on mobile devices and need no extra subscriptions.

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