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Netflix taking mobile-first, 'phased approach' to game releases

The streamer still has dreams of being a big player in games, but keeping its feet on mobile ground is where it wants to be until it can make good on its larger plans.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

June 26, 2024

2 Min Read
Logo for Netflix Games.
Image via Netflix.

While Netflix is still figuring out where it stands in the games space, the streamer thinks it's sorted out most of its growing pains and knows what to do next.

Talking to the Washington Post, external games VP Leanne Loombe spoke about how the company's video game umbrella will keep its eye on mobile titles, at least for now. According to her, Netflix's 270 million subscribers are a fan of quick-hit "snackable" phone games.

As such, it's looking at being a home for smaller studios with mobile expertise, but don't want to be locked to free-to-play games. Getting a mobile foothold is "definitely first" in what Loombe said would be a "phased approach" toward expanding Netflix Games' reach.

Visibility has one of the service's larger problems, and in 2022, it was reported 1 percent of Netflix users downloaded its games. In the two years since, it appears things have slightly improved, or at least enough for Grand Theft Auto Trilogy to net 30 million downloads.

"We didn’t really have as much understanding around which games our members want to play, and now we’ve got a lot more," she said.

Netflix is trying to play the long game

Currently, Netflix will redirect players to an app store if they click on a game in their feed. Per Loombe, the ultimate aim is to make games "playable wherever Netflix is," but that'll depend on cloud technology first.

In 2022, then-games VP Mike Verdu indicated Netflix was considering a game service powered by the technology. Loombe further confirmed its existence, stating once it's ready for global launch, "people like your dentist will be able to see games on TV, and that’s when we’ll be able to drive more awareness."

Even while waiting on the cloud, Netflix has some eggs in other baskets. Several of its offshoot studios were formed to make games for the PC and console market, and it's also aiming to turn shows like Squid Game into games to reach a larger audience.

The Washington Post's interview with Loombe, which also includes insight into other Netflix shows making the jump to games, can be read here.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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