Last year, Netflix said it was working on a cloud gaming platform to expand its mobile games offering, but don’t expect it anytime soon.
Speaking during a Netflix Games media briefing attended by MobileSyrup, Leanne Loombe, Netflix’s vice president of external
games, provided an update on the company’s game streaming. Per Loombe, the streamer is still “very early” in development on a cloud gaming platform, which is intended to expand the company’s gaming offerings beyond Android and iOS.
That said, she stressed that Netflix remains “very committed to making sure games can be played wherever you stream Netflix,” noting she’s bullish on cloud gaming technology.
Elsewhere in the briefing, Loombe relayed some other updates on Netflix Games. To start, there are currently 55 games on the platform since its launch in November 2021, with an additional 70 in development with external partners and 16 in the works at Netflix’s internal studios. Of all these titles, around 40 are slated for 2023.
Some of the upcoming third-party titles, which Netflix revealed for the first time during the briefing, include ustwogames’ Monument Valley and Monument Valley 2 (TBA 2024), Ubisoft’s Mighty Quest: Rogue Palace (coming April 18th) and an unannounced game based on a yet-to-be-revealed Netflix IP from Vainglory developer Super Evil Megacorp (TBA). However, Loombe that some of its first-party games are still in the “very early” stages, given that games “take some time to develop.”
The goal with building this catalogue, Loombe said, is to “have a game on Netflix for every one of our members.” Admittedly, the company isn’t revealing data on how many of its roughly 230 million subscribers are playing games, with Loombe simply saying “we’re super happy and super proud” of the performance so far.
However, she noted that the data Netflix has been gathering from player habits helps inform its future gaming efforts. “Each one of those games has allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of what our players enjoy,” she said. “With that learning, we’re really honing into what our members want.”
For example, she said Netflix has observed three main types of games that players are gravitating towards:
- Recognizable games (those from other platforms) — the Canadian-made TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge, Immortality, Valiant Hearts: Coming Home (a new, Netflix exclusive title, but a sequel to an existing gaming property)
- Daily Play (what keeps players coming back) — Solitaire, Kittens, Asphalt Extreme
- Netflix IP (games based on existing Netflix movies/shows) — Too Hot to Handle: Love is a Game, Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales, Stranger Things: 1984
In fact, Loombe said the most popular Netflix game of all is Nanobit’s Too Hot to Handle: Love is a Game, based on the Too Hot to Handle reality dating show that’s going into its fifth season. She attributed this success, in part, to having the game readily available alongside weekly episode drops of the series. Loombe also teased that a new Nanobit Too Hot to Handle game is coming later this year alongside Season 5 of the show, although no further details were provided.
This coordination extends to games that aren’t directly related to Netflix IP. For example, Etienne Tardieu, senior director, business and distribution of Ubisoft Mobile Games, pointed out that Valiant Hearts: Coming Home, which centres around soldiers, deliberately came out around the same time as Netflix’s All Quiet on the Western Front, a recent war drama that just received nine Oscar nominations and took home four. He went on to say Netflix’s availability in almost 200 countries makes it appealing as a publishing partner.
María Sayans, CEO of ustwogames, echoed this statement while taking it one step further. The studio’s most recent game, Desta: The Memories Between, features a protagonist who’s non-binary, Afro-Caribbean, Mancunian (from Manchester, England) and pansexual, which Sayans noted doesn’t translate easily across different languages and cultures, especially those that use masculine and feminine words. However, she said “Netflix’s focus on localization of the highest calibre” for all of its productions helped bring the game to different countries.
Meanwhile, Kristian Segerstrale, CEO of Super Evil Megacorp, said Netflix Games’ lack of microtransactions or ads frees up developers to focus on the craft of game making. These monetization schemes, he said, “force certain design paradigms that fit with the free-to-play model.”
Loombe concluded by suggesting a few games that newcomers to the platform should try out: Krispee Street, Knittens and Asphalt: Extreme.
Netflix Games are available at no additional cost with a Netflix subscription.