Netflix Games Takes on Apple Arcade

Netflix games

Netflix launched its new gaming platform on Android recently. More quickly than most of us anticipated, the service is now available to iPhone and iPad users, too. Announced in June 2021, Netflix Games has launched with a limited catalog of games, but it’s a start.

The first selection of titles in Netflix Games is pretty slim. The initial catalog includes Stranger Things 1984, Stranger Things 3, Shooting Hoops, Card Blast, and Teeter (Up!). All you need is a Netflix Standard Plan or higher. That’s right, you’re getting these games along with your streaming TV and movies, at no extra charge.

Netflix VP of game development Mike Verdu says this is just the beginning for the company’s gaming platform.

Whether you’re craving a casual game you can start from scratch or an immersive experience that lets you dig deeper into your favorite stories, we want to begin to build a library of games that offers something for everyone. We’re in the early days of creating a great gaming experience, and we’re excited to take you on this journey with us.

The titles are all standalone downloads, and Netflix Games doesn’t offer game streaming like other services do. For iPhone and iPad users, this is good news: Apple’s App Store rules currently prevent a game streaming service from running as a singular app.

A Return to In-App Subscriptions, Kinda

Just like on Android, the games all download from the App Store. You can even download them without using Netflix’s app, if you know the titles. However, you need a Netflix account play the games. The first time you launch one of the Netflix Games apps, you’re prompted to sign in with your Netflix account.

Netflix games iap
You can sign up for Netflix from one of its games (left), but not from the Netflix iOS app itself.

In 2018, Netflix stopped offering in-app purchase in its app for subscriptions. The entertainment company didn’t want to continue paying Apple its 15-30% commission. In launching Netflix Games and taking on Apple Arcade, that’s changed.

From one of the games in the Netflix library, you can sign up for a Netflix account and pay for your subscription. Interestingly, you can’t do that from the normal Netflix app.

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