Netflix released its July slate of mobile games yesterday, adding a range of new titles. One game, in particular, called Before Your Eyes, uses eye-tracking technology that progresses the story every time the camera detects that you’re blinking. Netflix launched Mahjong Solitaire on July 26 as well.
Into the Breach is also a part of the slate for this month. The mobile version — which is exclusive to the streamer — has been available on the Netflix app since July 19.
Netflix knows it needs to up its game (pun intended) and improve its mobile game venture to become a strong contender in the market. It’s likely that Netflix chose Into the Breach because it’s a high-profile, award-winning game. The indie hit won best strategy game at the 2018 Game Awards, so it’s no wonder Netflix wanted its hands on the title.
Into the Breach is a tactical strategy game that challenges players to assemble a squad of pilots and mechs and participate in turn-based battles against an alien enemy.
Recently, Into the Breach had an Advanced Edition update on PC, Switch and Stadia. Along with five new squads, 15 achievements, almost 40 new weapons, a dozen missions, and more, the new Advanced Edition also gives users seven new languages — Arabic, Thai, Swedish, Korean, Traditional Chinese, Turkish and Spanish (Latin America). Netflix informed TechCrunch that the mobile version contains the same content.
Before Your Eyes is a critically acclaimed adventure title that initially launched in 2021 on Microsoft Windows. The game tells the story of Benjamin Brynn, a recently deceased man who encounters The Ferryman who is tasked with transporting souls to the afterlife.
Netflix delivers the game’s exclusive mobile debut, allowing players to experience Brynn’s memories by utilizing the mobile device’s camera to capture players’ blinks. The player begins with his early childhood, blinks, then moves on to other key moments.
The PC version also uses eye-tracking technology; however, it requires a webcam that not all users might have. Players can opt to play with a mouse and click instead of blinking. Netflix offers the game to its subscribers who might not have the equipment needed to play the game on a computer yet still want to test out the cool tech.
As we all know, blinking is an involuntary mechanism, so players might find it frustrating to have a staring contest with their phone in order to watch a particular scene. But the game plays on this notion of “life flashing before your eyes.” So, if you miss something, well then, isn’t that just life slipping away in a blink of an eye?
For players who don’t want to sob uncontrollably, Mahjong Solitaire is a simple single-player tile-matching game that has 300 puzzles as well as daily challenges and achievements. The game also has different themes and backgrounds, such as the upside-down from “Stranger Things.”
The streamer offers simple games to pass the time, such as Shooting Hoops and Bowling Ballers. There are also original games based on its own properties, including “Stranger Things,” “The Queen’s Gambit” and “Money Heist.”
Netflix has acquired three game studios to date, such as Boss Fight Entertainment, maker of Dungeon Boss; Night School Studio, known for the supernatural title Oxenfree; and Next Games (Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales).
In April, the streamer announced that it would be launching an Exploding Kittens mobile game and animated series based on the well-known card game. This was the first time Netflix released a game alongside a TV series from the same franchise.
The company explained in January during its fourth-quarter earnings call that gaming is its way of understanding what content Netflix subscribers want. “We think the time is right to learn more about how our members value games,” the company said. The streaming service hopes the games will be valuable enough for existing subscribers to stay and to help drive new subscriptions.
Netflix has yet to reveal how well its games are performing. The company told TechCrunch it doesn’t disclose the number of players.
It’s debatable if any of these titles are enough to draw in new subscribers or if it justifies that hard-to-swallow subscription price. In its last earnings report, Netflix disclosed a subscriber loss of 970,000 — nearly one million and its largest quarterly loss ever.