Netflix has introduced a new program that will soon allow members to play games on their TV, following hints it would enter the cloud gaming market last fall. Using this program, aptly named “Netflix Game Controller,” and your phone’s Bluetooth connection to your TV, you can play video games from Netflix on your mobile device.
Despite the game’s presence on the App Store, we still don’t know which, if any, of Netflix’s games will be adapted for the big screen, or when. The app’s description instead promises, “Coming soon to Netflix.”
When asked for clarification, Netflix said it had nothing else to communicate about its plans or schedule.
Netflix, though, has previously stated publicly that it intends to broaden its offerings beyond mobile games.
At our TechCrunch Disrupt event in October 2022, Netflix’s VP of Gaming, Mike Verdu, announced that the company was “exploring a cloud gaming offering.” He also said that Chacko Sonny, formerly the executive producer on “Overwatch” at Blizzard Entertainment, will be leading the company’s new gaming studio in Southern California.
The executive stressed that Netflix would not be directly competing with consoles like PlayStation or Xbox.
It’s an added bonus. Verdu remarked at the time, “We’re not asking you to subscribe as a console replacement.” A radically new approach to doing business. The long-term goal is to make it feel completely normal to play games in any environment.
Netflix thinks the problems with previous cloud gaming services like Google’s Stadia stemmed from flawed business models rather than the underlying technology. While Verdu acknowledged that Stadia’s games were entertaining, he said that the company’s financial model was unsustainable.
Netflix, on the other hand, includes free video games as part of its streaming package.
We do feel that cloud gaming will enable us to deliver that quick access to games on any device,” Leanne Loombe, Netflix’s vice president of external games, said in May of this year, as the company began to add additional games to its service. Our long-term goal is to make it possible for subscribers to play games on any Netflix device, which obviously includes TVs.
At roughly the same time, the streamer announced that it had 40 games planned for release this year, 16 games in production at its own studios, and 70 more games in development with its partners. Since Netflix’s entry into the video game industry in November 2021, more than fifty games have been made available. Netflix gaming has been declining as the market worries about how Netflix’s password-sharing crackdown will affect its bottom line. The streamer attracted 5.9 million global customers in the last quarter, raising the total to 238.4 million. This suggests the crackdown was effective. But that also implies more potential players for Netflix’s cloud gaming service, whenever it arrives.
The Netflix Gaming Controller app is now only available on iOS. Market intelligence firm data.ai doesn’t feature it under Netflix’s applications and games or have rankings because it’s new.