After announcing that it would be venturing into the gaming space earlier this year, Netflix has finally added games directly into its core app for the first time.
The five games available on Android devices right now are Stranger Things: 1984, Stranger Things 3, Shooting Hoops, Card Blast, and Teeter Up. In order to play, users must download them first – just as they would to watch something offline.
None of the five games are entirely new, or developed by Netflix itself. The two Stranger Things games were previously released as standalone games to tie into the show's earlier seasons, while Shooting Hoops, Card Blast, and Teeter Up - all more casual offerings - were available online before Netflix scooped them up.
The games sit inside their own carousel on the main Netflix library and are available to anyone subscribed on Netflix’s Basic tier and upwards. They come at no extra cost, don’t contain ads, and won’t feature in-app purchases.
Multiple users can play games at the same time, though it depends on the subscription type, as certain tiers only allow a limited number of devices to use Netflix simultaneously.
However, games are not available on Kids profiles – no word has yet been confirmed on if this will change in the future. If children wish to play games, they must access an adult's account. If this is locked by a PIN, it will be the same code used to access the account generally.
In addition, not all games require an internet connection to be played, though Netflix didn’t specify exactly which ones have this ability. They’re available in numerous languages, but if your language isn't available yet, the game will default to English.
Unfortunately, iOS devices won't be getting the games at launch. However, Netflix has confirmed that this new feature will be coming to Apple devices "in the coming months".
This could be a result of Apple's restrictive App Store policies on cloud gaming, which have already prevented both Google Stadia and Microsoft's Xbox cloud gaming from launching on iPhones via app - both run through web browsers instead.
Apple took issue with those services' structure, in which individual games could be accessed through what Apple sees as a separate storefront inside Apple's own app store - violating its approval process. However, Netflix hasn't confirmed that this is the reason for the delay.
In a blog post Mike Verdu, VP of game development at Netflix, claims that the new games are just the beginning of this new venture, and that Netflix wishes to “design games for any level of play and every kind of player, whether you’re a beginner or a lifelong gamer.”
So far, the blog has only specifically talked about mobile gaming. We have speculated on whether Netflix will team up with other studios to create games for consoles, but if this is the case, it isn’t happening anytime soon.
If you'd like to test out Netflix's new games for yourself, then you'll need to sign up for an account. Subscriptions start from £5.99/US$8.99, and you can either sign up on the Netflix website, or via the Netflix Android app.