Netflix announced today it will begin testing its games across more devices, including TVs and computers, in addition to mobile phones, where its games already run today. The tests will begin today in Canada and the U.K. with a “limited number” of Netflix subscribers who will be given the chance to test games on their TVs. In the coming weeks, those tests will expand to include PCs and Mac computers through Netflix.com via supported browsers.
Two games will initially be available as a part of these tests, including “Oxenfree” from Night School Studio — the first games studio the streamer acquired back in 2021 — and Molehew’s Mining Adventure, a gem-mining arcade game.
On TVs, the games can be played on select devices from Netflix’s initial partners, including Amazon Fire TV Streaming Media Players, Chromecast with Google TV, LG TVs, Nvidia Shield TV, Roku devices and TVs, Samsung Smart TVs, and Walmart ONN. Notably missing is Apple TV, which has a TV-based gaming strategy of its own via apps from its App Store.
Netflix says more devices will be supported over time, but did not detail which ones would later be supported.
The news of the tests follows last week’s launch of an iPhone game controller app that allowed games to be played on the TV. The launch suggested that testing would soon be underway.
Today, Netflix confirms that’s the case, noting that it’s now officially introducing a controller “that we already have in our hands most of the day — our phones.”
From the looks of things, the controller app scans a QR code displayed on the Netflix app on the TV to connect to the game.
Meanwhile, games on PCs and Macs will be played with a keyboard and mouse.
During the limited beta, Netflix aims to test its game-streaming tech and its controller and work to improve the user experience, it says.
“By making games available on more devices, we hope to make games even easier to play for our members around the world,” wrote Netflix VP of Games, Mike Verdu, on the company blog. “While we’re still very early in our games journey, we’re excited to bring joy to members with games. We look forward to hearing feedback from our beta testers and sharing more as we continue on the road ahead,” he added.
The streamer last fall had signaled its intentions to expand into cloud gaming, when Verdu told the audience at our TechCrunch Disrupt event that Netflix was exploring such an offering. He also noted the company would open a new gaming studio in Southern California, led by Chacko Sonny, the former executive producer on Overwatch at Blizzard Entertainment.
Netflix, however, doesn’t see itself as competing in the same space as PlayStation on Xbox, Verdu explained at the time.
“It’s a completely different business model. The hope is over time that it just becomes this very natural way to play games wherever you are,” he noted.
The streamer has 40 total games slated for launch this year, as well as 16 being developed in its in-house studios plus 70 more in development with its partners. Since Netflix expanded into gaming in November 2021, it has released 70 titles on mobile.