Now that Netflix Gaming is launched on iOS and Android, the streaming giant’s video game strategy is becoming clearer. The first games are only a fraction of Netflix’s ambitions.
That’s it, Netflix has officially launched into video games. Titles labeled ” Netflix Gaming ” have been available since November 2 on Android and since November 10 on iPhone and iPad. This program comes after months of insistent rumors and a few timid test balloons in the industry.
In all, 5 games are available on mobile. Two games inspired by the world of Stranger Things and three other more casual titles to pass the time, between two metro stations. We have tried them.
A TENTATIVE LAUNCH FOR NETFLIX GAMING
Downloading a Netflix Gaming game can, in theory, be done from the official Netflix app. The latter is supposed to have a “Games” section that links to the application store of your mobile. But for the moment, this section does not appear on the Android app or on the iOS app. You have to download the games directly from the Play Store or the App Store.
This diversification of Netflix in gaming is therefore done in a very discreet way since only informed people will think of looking for the games made available by the streaming giant. It must be said that for the moment, the game catalog is not the most interesting.
The two games taken from the Stranger Things license, namely Stranger Things 1984 and Stranger Things 3: The Game is rather successful. The 16-bit graphics and isometric 3D rendering of Stranger Things 3 lend the title a little retro touch that fits well with the atmosphere of the series. If there is no idea of revolutionary gameplay, the sets are quite rich and we have fun exploring the landscapes of the town of Hawkins. Stranger Things 1984, for its part, is somewhat reminiscent of Zelda-style action-adventure games. If the title has nothing terribly original in the unfolding, the settings are neat and the gameplay quite simple and successful.
The same cannot be said exactly for the other three titles made available by Netflix. Teeter Up and Shooting Hoops have fun for a few minutes, with their physics engine that requires serious thinking to pass certain levels. However, the games do not offer much innovation, and simply resume game mechanics proven from Doodle Jump. They pass the time, but little more. Finally, Card Blast is a hybrid between a poker game and Candy Crush with neon animations, power bonuses and endless levels. Here too, we are dealing with gameplay seen and reviewed, on which we put a slightly different coat of paint.
NETFLIX DOESN’T NECESSARILY NEED GREAT GAMES
On paper, it’s hard to understand exactly why Netflix stuck its “gaming” label on third-party games whose inventiveness is not crazy. None of the launch games will push the public to subscribe in order to play. Worse, Stranger Things 3, one of the best titles in this catalog, doesn’t even require a Netflix subscription to play. But, in reality, Netflix doesn’t need to have stunning exclusives to justify this diversification into gaming.
Netflix is developing its gaming offer with the same approach as Amazon is developing its SVOD platform. The service is not intended to convince Internet users to subscribe with incredible exclusions, it is more of a nice bonus for people who are already subscribed and who want simple games, without the fuss and without intrusive ads.
A game doesn’t have to be revolutionary to be addicting. In 2019, Candy Crush had 270 million players. 9.2 million people spent more than 3 hours a day there. No one knows if Netflix will reach such heights, but if a single game manages to reach a fraction of that popularity, Netflix Gaming will already be a success.
START SMALL TO GAIN STRENGTH
The beginnings of Netflix Gaming are not, moreover, necessarily indicative of what the service will become. The next game to join the catalog is much more ambitious. Hextech Mayhem is a spinoff from the very popular MOBA League of Legends where you will control ” Ziggs in his quest to create the biggest bomb the world has ever seen “. We must admit that the trailer is rather envious of its musical atmosphere and its neat graphics.
The game, which will be sold for 8.99 euros on Steam, will however be free for Netflix subscribers. Enough to improve the reputation of the service and give a little confidence in the future of this game offers. Netflix Gaming does not necessarily need to develop revolutionary games related to the universe of its series. The company can afford to get its hands on already existing titles (of varying quality) to offer them free to its subscribers. This makes the streaming offer more attractive at a low cost. Failure to enroll new clients, Netflix Gaming could indeed be a reason to remain subscribed to Netflix, at a time when the streaming war is raging.