August 15, 2023
Netflix, the pioneer of online movie and TV streaming, has officially embarked on its gaming journey. On Monday, the streaming behemoth confirmed in a blog post the commencement of limited testing for its video game streaming capability.
The test, which is currently available to a “small number of members” in Canada and the U.K., will initially allow these users to play video games on their televisions using the Netflix application. The company further revealed that this feature will soon extend to PC and Mac users as well.
As of now, only two titles are available for streaming: the indie favorite, “Oxenfree” and “Molehew’s Mining Adventure.” On the TV front, games can be manipulated via a recently released smartphone app by Netflix, eliminating the need for a dedicated gaming controller. For those accessing the service through a PC or Mac, the standard keyboard and mouse will serve as the primary input tools.
Netflix’s affair with gaming products isn’t novel. Previously, they allowed users to download games like Oxenfree on mobile devices. To play, one had to log in with their Netflix account, akin to the conventional gaming process but with Netflix as a gateway.
Gaming through streaming has garnered attention in the tech space in recent years. Platforms like Google’s Stadia, which was unfortunately terminated earlier this year, and Xbox’s Game Pass, which has seen significant success, have attempted to revolutionize the gaming experience. The allure of game streaming lies in its elimination of the need for high-end gaming setups. However, concerns persist about potential lag and visual degradation due to unstable internet connections.
In addition to televisions, the game streaming tests by Netflix will soon extend to computers, marking another strategic expansion for the brand. A notable list of Netflix’s initial partners for this venture includes LG TVs, Amazon Fire TV Streaming Media Players, Chromecast with Google TV, Roku devices, Nvidia Shield TV, Samsung Smart TVs, and Walmart ONN. However, Apple TV is conspicuously absent from this list, given its distinct TV-based gaming approach.
Netflix’s game controller application connects to the main service via a QR code. While computer users can utilize the traditional keyboard and mouse combination, mobile users will need this controller app to play on TVs.
Mike Verdu, Netflix VP of Games, expressed his excitement in a company statement: “By making games available on more devices, we hope to enhance the gaming experience for our members globally.” He also emphasized that this is just the beginning of Netflix’s gaming adventure.
Since its foray into gaming in November 2021, Netflix has launched 70 mobile titles. They now aim to release 40 more games this year, with 16 in development at their in-house studios and another 70 in collaboration with partners.
With this move, Netflix is not only diversifying its offerings but is also positioning itself as a significant player in the cloud gaming realm. However, as Verdu noted last year, Netflix’s model is distinct from competitors like PlayStation or Xbox. Their vision is to make gaming an integral, yet seamless, part of the Netflix experience.
With these developments, it is clear that the streaming giant is set on not just entertaining its audience with shows and movies but also ensuring they have a controller in hand, ready to embark on gaming adventures.