Netflix has announced it will be rolling out its exclusive library of mobile games to all of its Android subscribers across the globe, starting November 3 at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET — reports TechCrunch.
The news comes after Netflix spent several months testing its games catalog in select markets like Poland, Spain, and Italy. Back in July, the streaming service announced it would start offering video games to subscribers “within the next year,” calling games “another new content category” for the company to offer, alongside movies and TV.
Netflix partnered with Texas-based game studio BonusXP to create Stranger Things: The Game, based on the hit Netflix TV series, which was later rebranded to Stranger Things: 1984 to differentiate it from the sequel, Stranger Things 3.
Just last month, Netflix launched three new casual games — Frosty Pop’s Shooting Hoops and Teeter Up, as well as Card Blast from Rogue Games. These five titles will make up Netflix’s library of games at launch, but the streaming service plans on expanding quickly.
In September, Netflix acquired Night School Studio, the development team behind acclaimed multi-platform game Oxenfree, to develop video games in-house. Earlier in the year, Netflix even hired former EA and Facebook executive Mike Verdu to spearhead the company’s video gaming expansion.
To access the titles, users will tap on the new Games tab in the Netflix app for Android where all available games are listed. When they select a game, users will be directed to the Google Play Store listing for that specific game, where they can download and install it as they would any other app. However, to play the game, users will have to sign in with their Netflix account.
After you’ve downloaded them, the titles will be available to play at any time, both in the Netflix app and on your device’s home screen / app drawer.
During a Q3 earnings call with investors, Netflix COO and Chief Product Officer Gregory Peters said the company’s efforts in mobile gaming are still “incredibly early.”
“Mostly what we’ve done to date is about essentially making sure that all of our systems are working as we expect. So it’s really about proving to ourselves that we can do the delivery in a way that we want,” he said, referencing the months spent testing games.
But longer-term, Peters sees potential for Netflix to personalize suggestions of games to play to its subscribers, the same way its algorithms today suggest new movies and shows for them to watch.
During testing, the games were only available on Android smartphones. The global launch will bring the company’s library of games to Android tablets as well, says Netflix. Games will be featured in a new Games row on the app’s home page, pinned to position 6, and they’ll also be found in the ‘Categories’ drop-down menu.
Netflix told TechCrunch that the games will start progressively rolling out to Android subscribers on November 3, but it may be several days before they make their way to all of the platform’s members on Android.
All of Netflix’s games were tested without in-game advertising, in-app purchases, or any other form of monetization, and were available to download for free. That is exactly how they will be launched as well, says the streaming platform.
Netflix sees mobile games as a means of engaging with its existing subscriber base and keeping them interested, and is looking to simply add them to its existing membership plans.
The company says it plans to bring downloadable games to iOS users in the “coming months.” That is, however, easier said than done, considering Apple’s stricter App Store rules that generally prevent apps from hosting other apps and games.