Netflix has been increasingly dipping it's toes into the world of mobile gaming, especially having added the likes of critically-acclaimed strategy title Into the Breach on to iOS and Android for subscribers to access at no additional charge.
The problem is thus far uptake of these games has been less than stellar, and it would seem that the vast majority of Netflix users would rather stream movies and TV shows than play games.
CNBC (opens in new tab)reports (using data from Apptopia) that on average Netflix games attract 1.7 million players per day. That means that less than 1% of the streamer’s 221 million subscribers are currently playing games on the service. Of course, a small percentage of a very large number is still a large number. But it’s likely that Netflix will hope to boost that engagement rate significantly in the next few months.
Netflix’s games have been downloaded a total of 23.3 million times, and the current catalog is comprised of more than 25 games and includes a digital version of the popular Exploding Kittens card game and a spin-off of the wildly-popular PC game League of Legends. Even with its relatively underwhelming take up, Netflix still plans to increase its current selection of titles to 50 by the end of 2022, and it has made a significant investment in three indie games studios in order to meet this goal.
The good news for Netflix is that interest in its game appears to be increasing, even if it's at a relatively slow rate. Apptopia reports that in January, around 8 million Netflix games were downloaded, whereas in June of this year, that number had risen to 13 million downloads. This is slow growth for a platform of Netflix's size but at least it indicates that more and more subscribers are giving Netflix games a shot.
Of course, there are still more than 200 million subscribers who aren’t playing games on Netflix. This could be because many of them prefer to game on a dedicated console like a PS5 or Xbox Series X, or perhaps it’s that Netflix’s library of games is still fairly small.
There is also the possibility that the streaming service hasn’t gone a good enough job promoting its games. Popular movies/TV shows continue to dominate the Netflix homepage with games usually being relegated to a dedicated sub menu. Many subscribers could still be unaware Netflix even offers games.
2022 has been a relatively bruising year for Netflix with the service reporting its first drop in subscribers quarter-over-quarter, and its controversial plans to crack down on password sharing and introduce an ad-supported tier attracting criticism. The service is clearly looking to bolster its offerings to keep subscribers sticking around long-term, and games look set to become an increasingly important part of this strategy.