UPDATED: It’s game on for Netflix: The streaming giant is launching the first collection of games available in its Android mobile app for users worldwide.
Starting Tuesday, Netflix subscribers worldwide can play five mobile games: “Stranger Things: 1984” (BonusXP), “Stranger Things 3: The Game” (BonusXP), “Shooting Hoops” (Frosty Pop), “Card Blast” (Amuzo & Rogue Games), and “Teeter Up” (Frosty Pop).
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The rollout starts Nov. 2 with the Netflix games available to download on the Google Play app store for all members on Android mobile and tablet devices globally. Then, on Nov. 3 starting at 10 a.m. PT, the mobile games will begin slowly rolling out on the Netflix app for Android.
Netflix officially unveiled its plans to enter the video game market in July, with execs saying the effort is designed to buttress the core video-subscription service rather than representing a discrete new revenue stream. The games on Netflix are included as part of the overall subscription — with no extra fees, ads or in-app purchases.
Just two of the initial batch of five games titles are tied to a Netflix original, the popular “Stranger Things” series. “Stranger Things 3: The Game,” developed by studio BonusXP, is a companion game to Season 3 of the show, letting you play through familiar events from the series while also “uncovering never-before-seen quests, character interactions, and secrets!” according to its description. “Stranger Things: 1984” is described as a stylized, retro action adventure similar to the arcade games from the ’80s, letting players solve puzzles and collect Eggos and gnomes along the way.
“Whether you’re craving a casual game you can start from scratch or an immersive experience that lets you dig deeper into your favorite stories, we want to begin to build a library of games that offers something for everyone,” Mike Verdu, Netflix’s VP of game development, said in announcing the global launch. Verdu, a former EA and Oculus exec, joined the company earlier this year to lead the Netflix gaming initiative.
The mobile games currently are available in Netflix’s app for Android devices when you log into your profile, via a dedicated games row and games tab where you can select any game to download. Users on an Android tablet will see a dedicated games row and also can select games from the categories drop-down menu to download and play. (Netflix plans to roll out support for games on iOS in the next few months.)
While some of Netflix’s mobile games may require an internet connection, others will be available to play offline, according to Verdu.
Netflix’s mobile games are available in many of the languages it offers in the app, and the games will automatically default to the preference set in your Netflix profile. If your language is not yet available, games will default to English. The games are not available on Netflix Kids profiles.
Meanwhile, Netflix is only getting started in building out an expansive games lineup, according to Verdu. In September, the company made its first game-related acquisition: Netflix bought Night School Studio, a game developer best known for supernatural mystery adventure title “Oxenfree.”
Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings, in discussing the company’s second-quarter earnings, said the push into games and other areas like merchandise are not expected to become significant profit-generating businesses. Those initiatives are about “enhancing the big service that we have,” he said. “We’re a one-product company with a bunch of supporting elements that help that product be an incredible satisfaction for consumers and a monetizing engine for investors.”
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