In an effort to delve deeper into the gaming segment, Netflix has begun testing its titles across more devices, including TVs and computers. On Monday, the streamer claimed that a ‘limited number’ of subscribers living in the US and Canada were able to cloud-stream select games on their TVs, while testing on PC and Macs was imminent in the next few weeks. The testing period includes two games — Night School Studios’ Oxenfree and Molehew’s Mining Adventure — and uses your phone as a controller. Earlier this month, the company inadvertently published their new game controller app on the Apple App Store, flaring rumours about Netflix Games getting TV support.
“We’ve been focused on creating a great gaming experience for our members since 2021 when we added mobile games to Netflix. Our goal has always been to have a game for everyone, and we are working hard to meet members where they are with an accessible, smooth, and ubiquitous service,” Mike Verdu, VP, Netflix Games said in a blog post. “Today, we’re taking the first step in making games playable on every device where our members enjoy Netflix — TVs, computers, and mobile.” Coming off an exhaustive crackdown on password sharing, the goal here is for Netflix to improve its member experience by granting free games as a value addition. Last year, the company also expressed its intention to expand into cloud gaming, albeit the plan isn’t to compete with the likes of PlayStation or Xbox.
It’s now clear that the games will be streamed onto your TVs and that you’ll be able to control it using the Netflix Game Controller app, which essentially functions as a touchscreen gamepad, featuring an analogue stick on the left for movement and action buttons on the right. For now, Netflix Games will operate on a small selection of TVs and connected TV devices including LG TVs, Amazon Fire TV streaming media players, Roku devices, Nvidia Shield TV, Chromecast with Google TV, Samsung Smart TVs, and Walmart ONN. More devices will be added on an ‘ongoing basis.’ Meanwhile, the PC and Mac versions will be playable through the official Netflix website on select (unspecified) browsers, and will rely on a keyboard and mouse for controls.
Any tech-related issues will be ironed out during the testing period — it has to be this way, since lags or hitches would feel a lot more annoying in a video game than while streaming a movie or show. As mentioned before, only two games are included in the testing period — a gem-mining arcade game called Molehew’s Mining Adventure, and Oxenfree, an atmospheric supernatural thriller about a group of friends who open a ghostly portal. It is developed by Night School Studios, the first developer Netflix acquired as part of its pivot towards gaming content in 2021. The streamer also plans to launch 40 new games on its platform this year, with loans to build on existing IP, as well as collaboration with external partners such as Ubisoft.
Currently, there is no solid window on when Netflix would bring its games catalogue to TV.