Image: Digital Sun
If you read the headline and thought to yourself, “Netflix has games?” You’re not alone. Reportedly, less than 1% of Netflix subscribers are playing these games, which likely means many subscribers aren’t aware they even exist. In fact, if you exclusively watch Netflix on your TV, you likely haven’t even seen these games come across your feeds. They’re real, they’re free to subscribers, and they’re generally really good!
Netflix began dipping its toes into the mobile gaming scene in November, launching five original titles. Since then, it has added 21 new games to the list, with plans to grow its library to around 50 by the end of the year. To date, the games have been downloaded roughly 23 million times, and have about 1.7 million daily active players, representing 0.77% of Netflix’s 221 million subscriber base.
The company is focused on mobile gaming to start, meaning these games are available on smartphones and tablets only right now. You won’t find them on your game consoles, computers, or smart TVs. That also poses a challenge when it comes to advertising, since many of us watch Netflix on devices incomparable with its games. I rarely watch Netflix on a phone or tablet, so I never encountered any mention of them before a report in Polygon this week.
While over 1.5 million Netflix subscribers playing these games every day, I sure don’t know any of them. If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what games Netflix offers, and how to play them.
All the games Netflix currently offers for free
Here is a complete list of titles you can jump into today. Netflix does warn not all games are available on all devices, but does not specify beyond that generalization. Just be aware when choosing a game that you won’t necessarily be able to play it on your preferred device:
While you might assume—as I initially did—that Netflix’s games are shovelware popped out by the company to justify inflating subscription costs, it turns out the library is really solid. In fact, there are some excellent, well-regarded indie titles on this list, including Into the Breach, Moonlighter, and This is a True Story. Netflix does have some native IP in the list, notably Stranger Things: 1984 and Stranger Things 3: The Game, with an upcoming Queen’s Gambit chess title in the works.
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Not each and every game is a winner. Dungeon Dwarves, for example, has 2.1 stars on the iOS App Store with 71 ratings as of this writing. However, you have a chance to see each game’s store page before downloading, so you’ll get a chance to peruse reviews and see if the title is worth your time. And since they’re all free, provided you have an active Netflix account, there’s no harm in downloading a dud or two.
How to play Netflix’s games
If at least one of these titles piques your interest, you can pick up and play it right now. To start, you’ll need an Android phone or tablet running Android 8.0 or later, or an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 or later.
There are two ways to find Netflix games to download to your device. You can either open your Netflix app and scroll down on the Home page until you see the “Games” section. Tap a game, then tap “Get Game,” which will open the game’s page in your device’s respective app store.
You can also open the App Store or Play Store and search “Netflix games.” The results will return Netflix games, of course, but if you open Netflix’s developer page on the app store in question, you’ll also see a complete list of all the games (and additional apps) the company offers for download.
When you open a Netflix game for the first time, it may ask you to log in to your Netflix account. I didn’t have to, but then, I was already logged into the Netflix app on my iPhone; it’s possible the game will authenticate with the app so you don’t need to log in again. Beyond that, you simply tell the game which account is playing, just as you do when opening the regular Netflix app.
Whatever your opinion of Netflix is in 2022, this offering is tough to criticize. It comes at no additional cost to all Netflix subscribers of any tier, and includes some great games (reviews suggest Bowling Ballers is a favorite). Time will tell if more Netflix subscribers end up playing—and more games keep being added—but until then, there’s plenty to keep you busy.
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