Netflix (opens in new tab) has announced that all subscribers to the streaming service can play five mobile games on Android devices entirely for free.
The games will be available through the Netflix app starting today as part of a gradual rollout for the streaming giant. The games include Stranger Things: 1984, Stranger Things 3: The Game, Shooting Hoops, Card Blast, and Teeter Up. While none of them are likely to be critically acclaimed, it's a huge step for one of the best TV streaming services (opens in new tab) with the company likely to take further steps forward.
It's also worth noting that this is for Android players only right now so if you're an owner of one of the other best smartphones (opens in new tab) i.e. an iPhone, you'll need to wait a bit longer.
Netflix games, the future
In a blog post (opens in new tab), Mike Verdu, VP of game development, explained the company's plans: "Whether you’re craving a casual game you can start from scratch or an immersive experience that lets you dig deeper into your favorite stories, we want to begin to build a library of games that offers something for everyone" before acknowledging that the firm is in "the early days of creating a great gaming experience".
The games available through Netflix have no ads or in-app purchases. You simply access them via the app's homepage before being able to download them from the Google Play Store. Everyone with a profile on a Netflix account can play the games without the need for a separate subscription but the games are not available on kids profiles.
Netflix has announced that this initial batch of games is the beginning for its gaming plans. In recent times, the company bought Oxenfree developer, Night School Studio, its first gaming acquisition.
Aaron Simpson, chairman of Kindred for Business (opens in new tab) – an app monetisation network – said it was a "shot across the bows" to game developers. Speaking about the recent announcement, Simpson said: “Engaging and retaining players was already a challenge and with the arrival of Netflix, that challenge has just got even greater.
“Giants like Netflix don’t have the commercial conundrum of other gaming studios, as many households have already come to see a Netflix subscription as just another utility bill. Now more than ever, mobile gaming studios need to rethink their relationships with players and the way they monetise them.
"Increasingly, it feels like the days of in-app purchases and advertising, both of which negatively impact the UX for players, are drawing to a close. Game developers need to look at new ways to monetise their players, and fast"
Expect more acquisitions to come in the future as well as more games to play on your smartphone. No date has been set yet for when they make their way to iOS.