It's been clear for a while now that gaming will play a significant role in Netflix's future, and we're starting to see that play out in the wild. The company is now testing mobile games as part of subscriptions.
Netflix confirmed to Engadget this is the first time it has tested games in its mobile app publicly, but availability is very limited at the outset. “Starting today, members in Poland can try Netflix mobile gaming on Android with two games — Stranger Things 1984 and Stranger Things 3 — all as part of their membership," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. "It’s still very, very early days and we will be working hard to deliver the best possible experience in the months ahead with our no ads, no in-app purchases approach to gaming.”
Let’s talk Netflix and gaming.— Netflix Geeked (@NetflixGeeked) August 26, 2021
Today members in Poland can try Netflix mobile gaming on Android with two games, Stranger Things: 1984 and Stranger Things 3. It’s very, very early days and we’ve got a lot of work to do in the months ahead, but this is the first step. https://t.co/yOl44PGY0r
It's worth noting you won't stream these games through the cloud. When users tap the Install Now button, they'll be taken to the Google Play Store and they can download the game to their device. You can still download the games directly from the Play Store, though you'll need to confirm your Netflix log-in credentials. You can play games through the Netflix app as well as through their own dedicated apps.
Netflix is looking to expand the test in the coming months, including on iOS. Given that it isn't streaming the games, Netflix might avoid some of the hurdles cloud gaming services like Stadia, Xbox Cloud Gaming and GeForce Now have encountered on Apple's mobile devices. Those all run as web apps on iOS, rather than as ones you download from the App Store. Netflix's approach is a little more like Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass.
Update 8/26 2:15PM ET: Clarified that you'll still be able to download the games directly from the Google Play Store.