What Is Netflix Gaming – Netflix Bets on Another Stadia-Like Approach

Once dubbed the king of original programming, Netflix is slowly falling from grace. Competition is fierce in the streaming industry, and Netflix cracking down on account sharing and planning to introduce ads did not sit well with consumers. By “not bode well”, I meant Netflix lost 200 000 subscribers in just three months. Yeah, that’s pretty bad.

So, what’s a company to do? Well, the video game industry is thriving, and the streaming giant saw an opportunity. As crazy as it might seem, Netflix is betting on a gaming strategy and released 23 exclusive titles in November 2021 for mobile.

Will mobile be enough? Let’s have a look at what Netflix games look like so far, and what Netflix plans for the future.

What Is Netflix Gaming?

Netflix and games don’t seem like they belong together, but the streaming giant is here to prove otherwise. People are apprehensive about another Stadia-like approach to gaming, yet that didn’t stop Netflix from releasing its gaming catalog worldwide in November 2021.

It wasn’t really a spontaneous decision. Netflix toyed with the idea back in August 2021 when it released two mobile games in Poland based on the hugely popular Stranger Things. In September 2021, Netflix released three more games and expanded its market to Spain and Italy as well. After testing the waters, Netflix went ahead and released its entire games catalog in all 190 countries where it’s available. 

You’ll find a wide variety of games on the app with no in-app purchases or ads interrupting your gameplay. You can download and install any game you want on your phone or tablet with just your Netflix subscription. There are no hidden extra fees.

The company doesn’t plan to interfere with the screen time limit you set for your children. That’s why Kids profiles can’t access or download anything from the game library. That said, you can play games on multiple devices with the same Netflix account.

Netflix released 23 exclusive mobile games with its library, and some are even based on popular TV series, like Stranger Things and Hextech Mayhem. The streaming company plans to release more games about popular shows like Money Heist, The Queen’s Gambit, and Too Hot to Handle

Netflix definitely prepared for this launch. In July 2021, Netflix hired Mike Verdu as vice president (VP) of game development. He had previously worked as an executive for Facebook and Electronic Arts. Later on, in September, Netflix acquired Night School Studio, which famously developed Oxenfree. The streaming giant promised it would hire only the best talent in the gaming industry, and in March 2022 it followed through. Netflix announced it acquired Next Games, a Finland-based mobile game developer, and Boss Fight Entertainment, a Texas-based mobile game developer as well. 

In November 2021, Amir Rahimi, Scopely’s former president of games, also joined Netflix as vice president of game studios. With considerable experience in the mobile gaming industry, Rahimi will oversee future games.

So far, Netflix seems serious about entering the mobile gaming market. Yet, what causes the shift from a streaming platform to a focus on games? Let’s have a look.

Why Is Netflix Interested in Gaming?

Well, let’s not sugarcoat it; Netflix isn’t in the best position on the market right now. Competitors have been popping up left and right. Disney+ launched with the incredibly popular Marvel and Star Wars franchises. HBO Max features everything DC fans love and love to hate. Hulu has some of the most amazing originals out there, and Amazon Prime is just so convenient with your Amazon account.

Naturally, these streaming services pulled their intellectual properties from Netflix to feature on their own platforms. Netflix didn’t just lose the rights to popular Marvel and DC movies, it also canceled some amazing shows like The OA, The Midnight Gospel, Daredevil, and Lucifer, much to subscribers’ dismay.

Canceling popular and beloved TV shows comes as a bigger disappointment when you factor in that Netflix subscriptions are on the pricier side. With $10 a month for a basic one-device plan going up to $20 for the UHD multi-device tier, Netflix isn’t exactly cheap. 

Compared to $8 for Disney+, $7 for ad-supported Hulu, and $5 for Apple TV+, it’s no wonder people started sharing accounts with friends and family. Not long after, Netflix promised it would crack down on account sharing by implementing extra charges. Naturally, that infuriated people.

To add insult to injury, Netflix also announced it would introduce ads to a lower-priced tier. In addition to losing 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022, Netflix shares also plummeted by more than 35% after the company started to clamp down on account sharing. 

Business isn’t looking rosy. On the other hand, the video games industry has become one of the most profitable among the entertainment categories. During the COVID-19 pandemic, video game sales reached a record $56.9 billion in sales. The mobile gaming market is also expected to grow by 11.56% in 2022

With reports that Netflix is under pressure to increase its subscriber base, it’s likely the company just wants a piece of that sweet gaming cake. Let’s see what it’s done so far, and how you can play Netflix games.

Note: While Netflix games are still in their infancy and most don’t require an internet connection, cybercriminals love to target app stores and many mobile games come from developers with malicious intentions. Carefully check app permissions to ensure they make sense before you install a new game and use CyberGhost VPN to encrypt and protect your internet connection. We have dedicated apps for Android and iOS — test our privacy features with a free trial.

What Devices Does Netflix Games Support?

First, make sure you have a compatible device. At the moment, Netflix is focusing on mobile games, but the company has expressed plans to expand to PC and console gaming in the future.  Netflix games supports all major mobile operating systems. That includes:

  • 📱 Android phone or tablet running Android 8.0 or later

    📱 iPhone running iOS 15 or later

    📱 iPad running iPadOS 15 or later

    📱 iPod running iOS 15 or later

You’ll also need an active online connection to download and install Netflix games. The device you play on will take one ‘screen slot’ on your account, just like streaming on it would.

How to Play Games on Netflix

With all that out of the way, here’s how you can play Netflix games. There’s no separate Netflix gaming app, you just need a Netflix subscription. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Open Netflix using the mobile device you want to play a Netflix game on.Screenshot showing the Netflix app with the Games section highlighted
  2. Select the Games menu from the bottom.
  3. Scroll down until you find a game that catches your eye.
  4. Tap on the game you want.Screenshot showing the Netflix games
  5. Tap on Get Game.Screenshot showing the Netflix game This is a True Story download page
  6. Tap on Go to Play Store or Go to App Store depending on the device you’re using.Screenshot showing the Netflix gaming app redirecting to the Play Store
  7. You’ll be redirected to the Play Store/App Store. 
  8. Download the game as you would any other app.
  9. Enjoy playing!

Keep in mind that some games require an internet connection to play. If you’re on a data cap, you can check if the game is available to play offline by scrolling down on a game until you reach More Details. Check the Internet Required section. Screenshot of a Netflix game's details with a highlight over the Internet required section

Pro-Tip: If you are at school or a student dorm and Netflix is restricted on your Wi-Fi network, you can use CyberGhost VPN to unblock Netflix shows and games. We have streaming-optimized servers that let you watch in 4K with zero buffering — if your internet bandwidth allows it.

What Are the Best Games on Netflix Right Now?

The mobile gaming market feels oversaturated at this point, so you might be asking yourself “What’s actually worth playing on Netflix?” Well, you won’t have to burden yourself with the likes of Coin Master or Kim Kardashian Hollywood any longer, because I’ve prepared a list of games that are actually worth a play.

They’re all available for both iOS and Android.

1. Stranger Things: 1984

Based on the popular Stranger Things series, this action-adventure game is the perfect way to immerse yourself in rural Hawkins. Join Hopper and the young protagonists for missions in the town and in the Upside Down. 

Use each character’s unique abilities to solve puzzles and progress the story. Don’t forget to collect all the Eggos and gnomes to unlock some goodies!

Download: Android | iOS

2. Krispee Street

Krispee Street is a relaxing hidden object game based on the Krispee webcomic. Across different levels, you’re tasked with finding hundreds of characters and objects with your keen eyes. 

You get coins as a reward for your finds. You also get daily challenges for a nice boost.

Download: Android | iOS

3. Bowling Ballers

Bowling Ballers is the perfect game to cure your boredom. In this endless runner, you take control of a bowling ball, and you need to hit everything in your way. Use skateboards and airplanes to reach all the objects and get more coins. The more coins you collect, the more fun customizations you can unlock for your ball.

Download: Android | iOS

4. Arcanium: Rise of Akhan

Arcanium is a single-player strategy card game with roguelike elements. Enter a fantasy world, Arzu, that blends magic, technology, and fascinating animal characters. Prepare your perfect team to protect the land from total annihilation and fight against Akhan the Calamity. Play your cards right and protect your party members from corruption!

Download: Android | iOS

5. This Is a True Story

This narrative puzzle game is based on actual events and interviews. If you’re into realistic games, you need to try this one. You’ll experience the story through hand-painted art in your quest to find water. You’ll have to overcome many obstacles through side-scrolling gameplay in order to reach the precious yet scarce natural resource. This short but engaging game is definitely worth a playthrough!

Download: Android | iOS

Can’t Access the Netflix Gaming App?

If you are on restrictive networks, you might not be able to access Netflix services. System administrators for school, work, and dorm Wi-Fi networks regularly restrict access to streaming platforms and popular games. They do this to save on bandwidth, prevent network congestion, and even improve productivity among workers and students.

While Netflix games aren’t as popular as the likes of Valorant or Call of Duty, and may not be targeted directly, they’re simply collateral damage when Netflix is blocked. Luckily, there’s a simple way to access Netflix services no matter where you are. Use CyberGhost VPN!

CyberGhost VPN hides your IP address and encrypts your entire internet traffic with the highly secure 256-bit AES encryption. This process makes sure that no one can see what you do online. Because of that, network filters won’t hold you back from accessing Netflix games or any other platforms.

As an added bonus, you’ll also be able to access Netflix services even if you travel to countries where the platform isn’t available, like China or Syria. Never lose access with CyberGhost VPN! Try it out risk-free with our 45-day money-back guarantee.

Is Netflix Cloud Gaming the future of Netflix?

Netflix seems serious about entering the gaming market, and possibly branching out into cloud gaming. Netflix paved the way for the subscription-based streaming library, but will it be able to replicate the same success for games? Will Netflix be able to do what Stadia couldn’t?

It’s hard to tell at this stage. With its current library, the selection is too small to make a dent in the video game market. Only time will tell.

For now, if you have a Netflix account, and are a casual gamer, you’ll find little hidden gems. If you’re a core gamer used to games like Overwatch, Rocket League, or Grand Theft Auto V, you might want to wait a while. Netflix plans to expand beyond mobile games, but it will take some time for it to compete with established gaming studios. 

For console and PC gamers, I would recommend Netflix games as a good cure for boredom. During long train rides, your boss’s boring presentation, or just to kill time at school, pass the time with a quick fun game.

If you’re on a public Wi-Fi network, like at your school or work, you might not be able to access Netflix’s domains. Use CyberGhost VPN to bypass network filters and unlock Netflix games. It’s super easy to set up and you’ll be back to join Hopper’s adventure in no time!

FAQ

What is Netflix gaming?

In November 2021, Netflix launched its gaming service. The games are available to Netflix subscribers on mobile devices at no additional cost. The games have no in-app purchases and no ads.

There’s really no downside to Netflix games, except the fact that they’re blocked on school and work Wi-Fi networks. Luckily, you can use CyberGhost VPN to get around restrictions and play to your heart’s content. Try it out risk-free with our 45-day money-back guarantee!

When did Netflix gaming launch?

Netflix Gaming first launched in Poland to trial two video games. Netflix tested 3 more games later that year and added Spain and Italy to its testing ground. In November 2021 Netflix games went live across all 190 countries where it operates. Netflix cloud gaming platform is now available worldwide with the exception of China, Syria, North Korea, Russia, and Crimea. 

If you’re traveling to these countries, you’ll lose access to Netflix unless you use CyberGhost VPN. Connect to one of our VPN servers to unblock Netflix content and games effortlessly.

How can you play Netflix games?

You can play Netflix games on Android, iOS, and iPadOS phones and tablets. Simply open the app, select the Netflix gaming section, and choose the game you want to play. For more details, check out our step-by-step instructions.

What are the best Netflix video games?

It depends on your taste, but as far as Netflix games go, you must try the two based on the Stranger Things series, namely Stranger Things: 1984 and Stranger Things 3: The Game. If you’re into great narratives, give This Is a True Story a chance. Looking for a good brain exercise? Krispee Street is your go-to game. Check out our Netflix game list for more details. 

If you’re on a Wi-Fi network that restricts Netflix’s domain, use CyberGhost VPN to unblock Netflix games at school or work.

Did Netflix hire game developers?

Yes, Netflix hired former Facebook and Electronic Arts executive Mike Verdu as vice president (VP) of game development. Scopely’s former president of games, Amir Rahimi, also joined Netflix to oversee future game releases. The streaming giant also acquired Night School Studio, famously known for developing the graphic adventure game, Oxenfree. Netflix stated it plans to hire more talented developers in the future. 

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