Netflix launches its first video games


Photo: OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP via Getty Images

During the summer Netflix has revealed it will start making its way into the video game world, hiring former Oculus VR guy Mike Verdu (also a veteran of Electronic Arts’ not-so-well-known mobile games division) to lead a then-mysterious Netflix video game initiative. There had been rumors before that about Netflix specifically mentions video games in new production deal with Shonda Rhimes, but we had no idea the size the reach of Netflix’s gaming vision was.

Turns out it’s not super big. Netflix’s first video games launched today, available only on the Android version of the Netflix mobile app, and the initial lineup leaves a bit to be desired. Kotaku points out that there are two already out Strange things games (both fake-SNES or Genesis-y adventure titles), silly basketball game Shoot hoops, ball rolling game Sway, and (the only brand new game) a card-based puzzle game called Explosion of cards it looks a lot like a number of other card based puzzle games.

No Bridgerton love game, no WarioWare-style collection of I think you should go games, no epic Witcher RPG. They didn’t steal any of the half-funny ideas we pitched in the previous new stories! The only notable thing about these underwhelming games, however, is that they establish what Netflix seems to be aiming for here. This is not about trying to be a competitor of Xbox or PlayStation or Fortnite, it tries to be a competitor to the Apple Arcade on iOS – or at least a different take on the concept, since Netflix games are exclusively available to people who can not access iOS at this point.

Netflix games are available at no additional cost, and they have no ads or in-app purchases. You can even download the games to play offline, just like you can with some Netflix movies and TV shows. The idea seems to be that the Netflix app could become your one-stop-shop for all your phone entertainment needs, which makes a bit of sense (especially if it can do it without breaking the bank on those mobile games).

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