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Netflix will offer mobile games with your subscription

Launch details are still something of a mystery.

Published onJuly 20, 2021

  • Netflix has confirmed that it will include mobile games at no extra charge for subscribers.
  • It’s not clear which games you’ll get, how you’ll get them, or how much they’ll cost.
  • Rumors had pointed to a possible launch by 2022.

Netflix is finally shedding light on its push into gaming. As The Verge noted, Netflix has confirmed in a shareholder letter that it will offer games to subscribers at “no additional cost,” starting with mobile titles.

The company didn’t outline the games it would offer, the delivery mechanisms, or the platforms it would support. It didn’t mention a launch date, either. It only justified the move by arguing that the “time is right” to understand how Netflix subscribers appreciate games.

Earlier rumors suggested Netflix might add games by 2022. There were also rumors of a possible PlayStation collaboration, although Netflix didn’t substantiate that claim with its letter. It’s also unclear if any team-up would extend to Sony’s fledgling mobile game business or focus strictly on consoles like the PlayStation 5.

See also: Google Play Pass vs Apple Arcade

Netflix also recently extended a deal with Shonda Rhimes to include gaming, but there’s no guarantee that will tie into games for subscribers. The streaming giant previously relied on interactive shows like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch as well as branded tie-ins like the Stranger Things games.

A Netflix games offering would be something of a gamble. While there’s little doubt that many of its subscribers are gamers (The Witcher is successful in part due to recognition from gamers, not just readers), it’s not clear many people will subscribe just for a chance to play some ‘free’ mobile games.

There’s also the not-so-small matter of competition. Netflix will have to compete against the likes of Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass, both of which have had plenty of time to add games to their collection. Those rival services are focused exclusively on games, however, and even an Apple One bundle is a tough sell unless you’re deeply invested in the Apple ecosystem. Netflix might have an edge simply by being ubiquitous — there’s a good chance you’re already a subscriber. This may be more about keeping customers than encouraging new sign-ups.

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