Netflix is testing TV games that can use phones as controllers

Developer Steve Moser has found hidden code referencing games on TV in the Netflix app.

SOPA Images via Getty Images

Netflix might have started (or is at least looking to start) testing games for TV, based on code within its app that developer Steve Moser has shared with Bloomberg. Moser reportedly found hidden code referencing games played on television, as well as additional code that indicates the possibility of being able to use phones as controllers to play them. One line from within the app apparently reads: "A game on your TV needs a controller to play. Do you want to use this phone as a game controller?" Moser also previously found hints that the service's then-upcoming ad-supported plan might not come with offline viewing. He turned out to be spot on.

The streaming giant launched its gaming experience on Android, iPhones and iPads in 2021. It requires mobile users to download games from the App Store or from Google Play due to rules set by Apple and Google. But since the point of these games is to increase engagement and retain users, they can be launched from within the Netflix app and an active subscription is necessary to be able to access them. On the Netflix app for TV, these games are notably absent.

It remains to be seen how the company intends to implement gaming on TVs and whether it will also require users to download the games before being able to play them. Netflix VP of game development Mike Verdu said last year, though, that the company was "seriously exploring a cloud gaming offering" and that it's looking to launch more than just casual games for television.

For now, users will have to make do with what's available on mobile. At the moment, Netflix's catalogue has around 55 titles available, though it's rolling out 40 more games throughout 2023.