Netflix games: Less than 1% of Netflix’s global fanbase is currently playing one or more of its games
Netflix has so far had a difficult year in 2022. The streaming giant has recently faced a number of unforeseen challenges, and according to fresh information regarding its games section, things aren’t likely to get better any time soon. According to Apptopia, an app analytics business, more than 1% of Netflix’s global following is now playing one or more of its games (per CNBC(opens in new tab)). In even more stark terms, since Netflix’s gaming section’s formal November 2021 launch, only 1.7 million users have actually played a video game on the service.
The fact that 23.3 million customers, or over 10% of its subscriber base, downloaded at least one of Netflix’s gaming games in the last nine months may be encouraging for the streaming service. Few players are actually picking up and playing the game once fans have loaded it on their device, though. The first, and arguably most obvious, justification has to do with Netflix game availability. Users can only play its video games on mobile devices that are compatible, according to the (opens in a new tab). Accordingly, you can only download and use games on an Android mobile device, an iPhone, an iPad, or an iPod Touch that is running iOS 15 or later (running Android 8.0 or later).
The fact that so many of Netflix’s users use the streaming service’s app on their TVs is a concern. According to information obtained by Finances Online(opens in new tab), 70% of Netflix users watch the service’s material on their television. It becomes clear why Netflix is having difficulty attracting customers to play its games when one considers that just 10% of users access the greatest Netflix movies and shows via their mobile devices. Simply put, they are unavailable in areas of Netflix where the majority of users access the material. Furthermore, Netflix’s gaming branch lacks the back library to draw in and, more importantly, keep consumers who test out its limited selection of games. There are currently 26 games accessible on Netflix Games. Some of them are fun to play and none of them are “must plays.”
Yes, among that quantity, there are a few standouts. The video game Stranger Things 1984 and its sibling Stranger Things 3: The Game is an adaptation of the immensely successful Netflix TV series, which will receive its fifth and final season in 2024. A great turn-based strategy game is Into the Breach, while Poinpy is one of those timeless mobile games that will consume all of your free time. Netflix, on the other hand, is unable to provide the same compelling AAA titles that Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, and other game publishers can on the Switch, Xbox Series, PlayStation 5, and game streaming platforms such as Amazon Luna.Netflix currently finds it impossible to compete with the privileged few.
Yes, it has grand ambitions to do so. The Washington Post(opens in a new tab) reports that Netflix plans to add twice as many games to its collection by the end of 2022. These will include games based on its original television series, such as The Queen’s Gambit and Shadow and Bone. It has also hired prominent industry players, like former Riot Games director Leanne Coombe and EA executive Mike Vrdu, to manage its gaming section, in addition to making the acquisition of three firms to kick off its growth into the gaming industry. But without blockbuster titles in its library, which won’t be available for years as Netflix learns what gamers want from its gaming platform, according to Variety(opens in new tab), Netflix won’t be able to compete with the top game creators and publishing firms in the world.
Then there is the rivalry between businesses that offer mobile gaming and businesses that do not. According to IGN(opens in new tab), Take-Zynga Two’s mobile gaming studio assisted its parent company’s mobile gaming industry in growing a staggering 41% year over year in Q2 2022. The Farmville game series, as well as other well-known games like Star Wars: Hunters, are all owned by Zynga. Netflix has stiff competition in the mobile gaming market because of Niantic’s hugely popular Pokémon Go game, Roblox, and other players. Even without taking into account the insanely well-liked social media applications like TikTok, Netflix is vying for consumers’ attention against non-gaming businesses as well as other game developers and publishers for their valuable time.
Even though it has recently seen some significant subscriber losses, Netflix still has 221 million global subscribers. However, that is nothing in comparison to TikTok, which in September 2021 claimed that over 1 billion people were using it each month (opens in new tab). DemandSage(opens in new tab) estimates that it rose to 1.39 billion in January 2022. Then, Netflix’s gaming segment isn’t even close to competing with those figures in an age where short-form content has been the preferred choice for a seventh of the world’s population. Since Netflix Games is geared toward mobile phones, many people with smartphones would do other things before even thinking about playing a game on the Netflix app.
Of course, Netflix games are not out of the running just yet. The streaming juggernaut will keep pushing into this market, gradually accumulating a library of games that ought to be worth playing and gradually expanding its subscription base of gamers. Netflix Games undoubtedly has the ability to develop even further. Companies like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo weren’t overnight hits. The launch of its ad-supported membership, a tier where Netflix could actively promote its own gaming content, could help the company’s efforts to get more people to play its games.
But Netflix Games is off to a bad start with this. The streaming service should have been able to convince more than 1% of its followers to try out its gaming selection, even with the current odds stacked against it. It already has a ready-made subscription base that it can draw from. Time will tell whether Netflix Games turns out to be a slow-starting eventual money maker or, like many other recent Netflix ideas and productions, is shelved before it has even had a chance to load up.