Netflix is adding a handful of spinoffs to its popular shows to its mobile games library.
Why it matters
It’s the first time since Netflix launched its gaming initiative that it’s drawing on stories and characters already popular on Netflix.
Netflix will release a chess game based on The Queen’s Gambit, the limited series that caused Google searches for “chess” to hit a 14-year high upon its release. It’ll even bring Beth Harmon’s drug-induced upside chessboards to the ceiling.
It’s one of a handful of mobile games coming to Netflix based on some of its popular existing shows, including Spanish crime thriller La Casa de Papel, aka Money Heist; fantasy series Shadow & Bone; reality show Too Hot to Handle; and game show Nailed It. (And no, Squid Game: The Game isn’t one of them.)
It’s the first time since Netflix launched a dedicated mission to add games that the company is using its own stories and characters, already popular with its subscribers, to anchor new game titles.
The Queen’s Gambit Chess and Nailed It!: Baking Bash will be released sometime before the end of 2022, while the rest had no timing details. By the end of the year, Netflix plans to more than double the number of games available to around 50. The move is part of Netflix’s effort to invest in video games as part of its standard subscription plan, hoping it will attract new subscribers and give existing subscribers more reason to keep their membership.
The news was announced during a presentation on Friday that concluded Netflix’s Geeked Week, an online fan event.
Last year, Netflix confirmed that this would be extended to games, starting with ad-free games for mobile devices like phones and tablets at no additional cost to subscribers. So far, Netflix has 22 casual mobile games available, some of which have already been released. Netflix has outlined far-reaching ambitions for games, indicating that it ultimately wants to pursue console games for Xbox and PlayStation as well.
Gaming is expanding Netflix, the world’s largest subscription video service, from its core TV shows and movies business. As Netflix has grown, it has repeatedly singled out gaming phenomena like Fortnite as some of its toughest competitors, as they offer a massive amount of hours of entertainment worldwide. Gaming is also Netflix’s most significant step into a new kind of entertainment since it began streaming in 2007 and released its first original show in 2012.
The gaming initiative has taken on new prominence after Netflix reported its first drop in subscribers in a decade earlier this year, and the company warned that memberships are likely to fall even further.
Netflix is not alone in this gaming expansion. Amazon, which operates Prime Video, has invested in Luna, its cloud gaming service, and also has its own gaming studio. Google, YouTube’s parent company, has poured money into its own game streaming service, Stadia. and Applewhich produces its own films and TV shows for AppleTVPlusalso expanded in Apple Arcade.
But Netflix would be unique if it made games a part of its only subscription. Others offer their gaming services as standalone products, typically also bundled with a number of other memberships.
Netflix’s games can be played and downloaded via links in the Netflix mobile app, but they must be installed separately from the Netflix app on your device. You can download the games directly from the Apple and Google app stores, typically at 10:00 am PT on the day of their release; Netflix also typically releases links to the games’ App Store listing starting at 2:00 p.m. PT. In the Netflix app, Android mobile and iPhone users should see a dedicated Games row when scrolling down their home page, with Android also having a dedicated Games tab. Tablet users should also see a dedicated games line or find games in the category drop-down menu.