Just like that, Netflix is ​​suddenly kinda awesome at games



When Netflix announced plans to move into the mobile gaming space, I, like many others, was skeptical. Like Instagram’s dreaded TikTok-ification, it felt like another example of a tech company that couldn’t stay in its lane, couldn’t just keep doing what it was good at. Perhaps in response to his own view that Fortnite is more of a competitor than HBO, this new attempt at diversification felt more like an attempt to appease investors than something that would legitimately matter to people who care about gaming. Its initial game launch last year with five games was uninspiring and forgettable, but this summer has drastically recolored my perception of Netflix as a game publisher.

Given that launch lineup, I didn’t give much thought to Netflix’s announcement that it would have nearly 50 games available by the end of the year. And yet, the quality of recent announcements and July releases are reason enough to reconsider. Into the Breach, if you haven’t read my update (which involved updating the score to a very rare 10), is an all-time great game, and the only way to play it on mobile is to have a Netflix subscription. Before Your Eyes, which was quietly one of the best games of last year, is also now available on mobile via Netflix. Ports might not seem like the most exciting way to stand out, but when it comes to bringing such great games – especially in the case of Into the Breach, which is a perfect fit on mobile, or Before Your Eyes, which ensures you have a camera – I’m more than ok with that.

We’re also not far from the release of Poinpy, a delightful original game from the creator of Downwell that came out of nowhere. If Netflix can continue to facilitate mobile ports for stellar games and periodically drop quality original releases, it’s suddenly starting to have a much more serious presence as a mobile player. We don’t know yet if it can replicate what the last few months or two looked like, but Spiritfarer, Kentucky Route Zero, Reigns: Three Kingdoms, Terra Nil, and presumably Oxenfree II: Lost Signals (which the developer is now owned to Netflix) offer promising prospects.

Part of the appeal of Netflix’s lineup of games is that it mimics the best part of Apple Arcade: they’re microtransaction-free and ad-free games, which is a refreshing change of pace if you play a lot of games. mobile games. But more importantly, it is the exclusive home of these games.

You don’t pay anything extra (at least at this point) to access Netflix’s games, so that becomes another benefit of having Netflix. As the streaming giant tries to crack down on password sharing, you’ll now have more to lose by deleting Netflix. As someone who certainly doesn’t share a Netflix subscription with my family and never would, I clearly have nothing to worry about. But if the day comes when I have to pay extra to enable password sharing or just get my own subscription (which I absolutely have), I should now consider losing access to not only the endless rewatches of I Think You Should Leave and Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun – which is frankly unthinkable to me – but also Into the Breach and other games, which quickly becomes a non-starter.

How successful it all is for Netflix remains to be seen – it’s a giant company, and gaming is surely only a small fraction of its business at this point, and it’s perhaps hard to gauge given its scale and the way it is integrated into standard subscriptions. Will Netflix still bother with games in a year or two? It’s impossible to say, and I’d certainly prefer to be able to just buy a game like Into the Breach and have access to it forever (and I could do without “NETFLIX” in front of game names on the App Store). But if Netflix gaming is here to stay for now, at least we can continue to enjoy a stronger lineup of games than most of us expected to see with the Netflix name on it.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you purchase something featured on our site.

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