Netflix started rolling out a handful of mobile games to Android last week.
Netflix is ramping up an effort to include video games as a part of its standard streaming subscription. Angela Lang/CNET
Netflix is widening its first five mobile games to Apple iOS mobile devices Tuesday, a week after it first rolled them out for Android customers, the company said in a tweet. The games are available immediately to download in Apple’s app store by title (see below). On Wednesday at 10 a.m. PT, Netflix will start rolling out games within its iOS app proper in a new games row on the homepage on the devices, so you won’t need to find them independently in the app store. People using the app on iPad will also find games in the categories drop-down menu.
Once the games have downloaded it from the Apple App store, they’ll be playable on the home screen of your iOS device and, eventually, in the Netflix mobile app itself. All games require you to enter your Netflix login credentials in-game to play.
As with the Android rollout, the first five games are all casual play fare suited for mobile-only play. They’re Stranger Things: 1984 and Stranger Things 3: The Game, both previously released games that were developed by BonusXP; Shooting Hoops and Teeter Up, developed by Frosty Pop; and Card Blast, developed by Amuzo and Rogue Games. The last three games were part of Netflix’s test of mobile gaming in Poland, Spain and Italy earlier this year.
Netflix will add a new games row to its app homepage on iPad and iPhone starting Wednesday. Netflix
The move is the latest, biggest step in Netflix’s effort to make video games part of its standard subscriptions. Netflix confirmed in July it would expand into gaming, starting with ad-free games for mobile devices like phones and tablets available on its existing service at no added cost to subscribers. The expansion represents its most meaningful move into a new kind of entertainment since it started streaming in 2007, and since it released its first original show in 2012.
The advent of gaming widens Netflix from its bedrock business of TV shows and movies as the world’s biggest subscription video service. As Netflix has grown, it’s long pointed out that its competition extends beyond the traditional TV and movie companies that go head-to-head with it now. The company has repeatedly called out gaming phenoms like Fortnite, as well as user-generated-video powerhouse YouTube, as some of its toughest competition because of the massive amount of entertainment hours they command worldwide.
And the gaming industry is an economic powerhouse. A surge in interest during the pandemic last year bolstered it into a bigger market than movies and North American sports combined. The global market for video games was estimated to be worth nearly $178 billion last year and is expected to eclipse $200 billion in 2023.
Netflix isn’t alone in this gaming expansion. Amazon, which operates Prime Video, has invested in Luna, its cloud gaming service and also has its own gaming studio. Google, parent of YouTube, has put money into its own Stadia game-streaming service. And Apple, which makes its own films and TV shows for Apple TV Plus, also widened into Apple Arcade.
But Netflix would be unique by making games part of its one and only subscription. Others offer their gaming services as standalone products, typically also in a bundle with a bunch of other memberships.
Netflix has sketched out broad ambitions for gaming, indicating that it ultimately envisions pursuing console games for Xbox and PlayStation too.