Netflix Expands Cloud Gaming Service With U.S. Tests


Netflix is taking its cloud gaming service to the next level by initiating tests in the United States. This comes after the platform’s initial trials in Canada and the U.K. As an extension of its mobile gaming efforts that took off in 2021, Netflix has been acquiring gaming studios and licensing titles from individual developers, highlighting its intention to become a major player in the gaming industry. The new cloud gaming service allows members to play games on smart TVs and TV-connected devices, such as Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, and more, using their mobile phone as a controller.

Key Takeaway

Netflix is expanding its cloud gaming service testing to the U.S. after launching trials in Canada and the U.K. The service allows members to play games on smart TVs and TV-connected devices using their mobile phones as controllers. Netflix has been acquiring gaming studios and licensing titles to offer free games as part of its subscription. While competitors question the move into gaming, Netflix aims to enhance the gaming experience and make its games available on more devices. The tests include popular titles like “Oxenfree” and aim to improve the end user experience.

Netflix’s Vision for Cloud Gaming

This move by Netflix puts it in direct competition with other cloud gaming services like Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming, Nvidia GeForce Now, PlayStation Plus, and Amazon Luna. Nevertheless, Netflix has taken a unique approach by making its games free to Netflix subscribers. Many of these games are tied to the platform’s most popular shows, such as “Squid Game,” “Wednesday,” and “Black Mirror.” Additionally, there are rumors of a potential licensing deal with Take-Two Interactive to release a “Grand Theft Auto” game.

Netflix has already released games associated with hit series like “Love Is Blind,” “The Queen’s Gambit,” “Stranger Things,” “Narcos,” and “Nailed It!” Apart from show-based games, it has also included popular gaming genres like puzzles, platformers, card games, strategy games, and kids’ games in its lineup.

Expanding the Gaming Business

Netflix has been actively expanding its gaming business through acquisitions and the establishment of in-house game studios. They have acquired studios such as Boss Fight Entertainment, Night School Studio, and Finland’s Next Games. The company has also set up its own internal game studios, including one led by a former Zynga GM in Helsinki and another headed by a former Blizzard Entertainment exec in Southern California.

Initially, Netflix focused on mobile gaming, but it has always hinted at moving towards cloud gaming and developing its own intellectual property. Now, it seems their vision is coming to fruition.

Despite this ambitious move, critics have raised concerns about whether gaming aligns with Netflix’s core business model. The platform’s main competitors in terms of user engagement are apps like TikTok and YouTube, with the latter recently overtaking Netflix as a primary video source for U.S. teenagers.

By launching its game streaming service on TVs, Netflix aims to make its games accessible across multiple devices. Currently, the tests include games like “Oxenfree” from Night School Studio, the first studio acquired by Netflix in 2021, as well as Molehew’s Mining Adventure, an arcade game focused on gem mining. The initial supported devices include Amazon Fire TV Streaming Media Players, Chromecast with Google TV, LG TVs, Nvidia Shield TV, Roku devices and TVs, Samsung Smart TVs, and Walmart ONN. Netflix plans to add support for more devices in the future.

To play the games on TVs, members use a dedicated mobile app as a controller. Netflix had previously launched its iPhone game controller app, and now through these tests, it aims to improve the end user experience and refine its game-streaming technology in anticipation of a wider rollout in the U.S.

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