Netflix launches free mobile games on Android

Mike Wheatley

Netflix has finally made its hotly anticipated move into gaming, with the launch of five titles on Android mobile devices.


The streaming giant says the new games will be available to all Netflix subscribers with an Android device at no extra cost. No surprise, two of the new titles tie in with one of the company’s biggest Original series hits. It’s offering no less than two “Stranger Things” titles - Stranger Things: 1984 and Stranger Things 3: The Game, alongside independent games Card Blast, Teeter Up and Shooting Hoops.

The five games are said to be the first of many, with Netflix promising it will eventually build an entire library of games that will offer “something for everyone”.

Netflix said subscribers will be able to play the new games on more than one device associated with the same account. Audio is available in multiple languages and there are no ads or in-app purchases.

The games are entirely free to play so long as you have at least a standard Netflix membership, though parents may be relieved to learn they will not be available on kids’ profiles – not that most kids are exactly short of games to play. Further, Netflix said accounts with PIN protection will be required to enter the same PIN each time they want to play one of the games.

To locate the games on Android smartphones, just scroll down and find the dedicated games row among all of the other rows. Those who have an Android tablet will also be able to find the games via the categories drop-down menu.

The initial release is on Android devices only, but Netflix promised the titles will become available on iOS devices in the coming months.

What isn’t clear is if Netflix’s games will ever be available to play on standard smart TVs. In its release announcing the new titles, Netflix characterised the new titles as “mobile games” and did not say a word about possible TV support. Given that the titles need to be downloaded onto the device first, it means they use the phone or tablet’s internal processing power. The problem is that most Smart TVs lack the hardware to run games locally and have very limited storage.

If Netflix does want to bring its games to TVs, the easiest option would probably be to stream them, just as it does with its TV shows and movies. Alternatively, it could also work with more capable devices such as the Nvidia Shield or the Apple TV, which are powerful enough to run games locally.

In any case, it is clear that Netflix has high hopes for gaming even if it remains a mobile-only thing. The company has been testing its first titles for months already, with the two Stranger Things titles having been made available to users in Poland earlier this year. Netflix has also confirmed it’s developing a game based on the hit Korean series Squid Games.