Netflix Presses Play On Mobile Games, With First Offerings Including ‘Stranger Things’ Duo

Netflix has lifted the curtain on its video game effort, beginning with mobile games for global subscribers using Android devices.

In a blog post, the streaming giant outlined the official start of its gaming initiative. Titles at launch include Stranger Things: 1984, Stranger Things 3: The Game, Shooting Hoops, Card Blast, and Teeter Up. The company intends to reach a wide range of players, “whether you’re a beginner or a lifelong gamer,” it explained. “We’re in the early days of creating a great gaming experience, and we’re excited to take you on this journey with us.”

Subscribers anywhere in the world can access the games via their regular subscription, without ads, fees or in-app purchase requests. Games are available for download, in the same way film and TV titles can be downloaded for use when an internet connection is not available.
Games can be played on multiple mobile devices on the same account, and the parental control feature set up for kids’ profiles will apply for the games as well.

Netflix has made several moves in recent months to position itself for gaming, looking to enhance the value of a subscription and provide another potential draw for new subscribers. Last summer, the company hired former Facebook and Electronic Arts exec Mike Verdu as VP of game development.

In September, the company acquired Night School Studios, the maker of Oxenfree. During their quarterly interview with a Wall Street analyst to discuss financial results, executives said they are open to additional opportunities.

Chief Product Officer and COO Greg Peters, who oversees Verdu’s burgeoning efforts, said Netflix will be “opportunistic” about M&A. He described the company developing “a new set of muscles” as it has ramped up in gaming. “Don’t expect us to go on a … buying spree or something like that. This will be one of the tools that we use, and we’ll use it opportunistically when we find a great opportunity out there.”

With 214 million global subscribers, Netflix remains the global leader in streaming by a fairly wide margin. For the first time since it began streaming in 2007, however, it faces a large number of well-funded competitors. Aside from initial rivals Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, Disney, Apple and WarnerMedia have entered the fray over the past two years. Netflix Co-CEO Reed Hastings has often emphasized the need to not only stay on top of the streaming heap but to vie with other companies looking to lock up consumers’ leisure time. He has often mentioned video game publishers as being among the most daunting foes in that department.

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Simon Costanza
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