Following a regionally limited teasing earlier this year, Netflix’s game push officially begins this week as the company releases an update to its Android app. Starting tomorrow, all Netflix subscribers on Android will start watching a series labeled either “N Games” or “Games On Mobile” in the regular video streaming app. The games are exclusively for smartphones and tablets.
And if you do not want to wait, you do not have to – the games are now live.
Today’s announcement confirms what we already knew after a trial version launched in late August in Poland. Netflix games are downloaded to your Android device as opposed to being streamed from Netflix’s cloud servers. (Subscription services like Nvidia GeForce Now, Xbox Game Streaming, and Amazon Luna are still ready to fight for the “Netflix of gaming” crown as they stream computationally intensive games from server farms to your favorite screen.)
In addition to a few smartphone-friendly games based on Stranger Things series, Netflix Games currently includes three other arcade-y tap-action games. And like the licensed games, these titles have all been previously launched on smartphone storefronts. Now that they are part of Netflix Games, the games have been updated to work without prior cost or hidden microtransactions.
It’s a major differentiator for Netflix games, and it’s similar to Amazon’s 2015 attempt to break into the Android gaming world by giving away games and paying game makers based on how often their games were downloaded and played. This “Amazon Underground” service required a page-loaded app download – a feature that received far less attention than when Epic Games did the same with Fortnite years later. Amazon’s efforts stalled and died less than two years later.
Do you want to share your account? No problem
Today’s announcement includes no mention of a particular megaton Apple smartphone and tablet ecosystem; instead, look the official “Netflix Geeked” Twitter account to make sure that iOS support for Netflix Games is “on the way.” As we have previously confirmed, the credential control system on Android should translate nicely to iOS every time Netflix Games launches there. (This is certainly not the first time Netflix has rolled out new, interesting features on Android before iOS.)
When the Netflix Android app update goes live tomorrow, it will allow users to stay in the Netflix app, find each game as an individual download, and verify the Netflix credentials before loading the games. Although Netflix says that some of its games need to check in with a server every time you play, I have confirmed that some of the starting games may work in full offline mode – at least after logging in and confirming Netflix credentials , before closing completely. each game, put your smartphone in airplane mode and reload the games.
Speaking of flexibility, if your Netflix account supports multiple, simultaneous logins (like the US $ 17.99 / month “4K” plan), Netflix Games will work the same way. Anyone can log in and play games at the same time until an account’s “maximum units” limit is reached. At that point, the app will issue alerts in the same way it does with video account sharing. And while all games so far are kid-friendly (especially since they have no microtransactions), games are currently listed as “adult” content and therefore require either an adult account or PIN access.
Today’s playlist is similar to the fare you would expect from a former Zynga director running this newly established Netflix game category. But that boss, Mike Verdu, insists there is more to come. “Like our series, movies and specials, we want to design games for every game level and every kind of player, whether you are a beginner or a lifelong gamer,” he wrote in today’s announcement. Ars Technica is familiar with at least two Netflix Games projects that are more surprising than the games we saw in today’s list.