Netflix has made no secret of its desire to push further into gaming, and it appears that the streaming service’s next big upgrade will be allowing subscribers to play on their TVs. Or at least, that’s what an unannounced new Netflix app would suggest.
Initially spotted by TechCrunch, a new “Netflix Game Controller” app has appeared on the iOS App Store without any comment from the streamer. The app can be downloaded for free and its description reads “Play games on your TV with the Netflix Game Controller. This Game Controller app pairs with your TV and allows you to play games on Netflix using your phone or mobile device.” There is also an image on the store that shows a virtual controller layout.
Once downloaded onto your mobile device (we tested it on an iPhone 12), the app asks you to “Choose a game on your TV and follow the direction to connect.” It also notes that “Netflix Games on TV are in beta” and that “some devices may not be supported at this time.”
At the time of writing, this splash screen cannot be bypassed, and there’s currently no way to connect the app to Netflix on your TV or do much of anything beyond clicking the "help" button, which directs you to Netflix's support portal. We can safely assume the app’s core functionality is not yet live, but once the app is functioning it will seemingly allow subscribers to use their mobile device as a controller in order to play Netflix games on their television.
While we await official comment from Netflix on this new feature, it would seem that in the near future subscribers will be able to play the streamer’s selection of games on screens larger than a mobile device. And this could be a useful upgrade as Netflix actually offers a pretty fantastic range of games including the likes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, Valiant Hearts: Coming Home and Oxenfree II: Lost Signals. In fact, we consider Netflix Games one of the service's most overlooked benefits.
Another Netflix upgrade has arrived this week
Netflix is also making improvements to its rating system with the aim of making it easier for users to give a show or movie a thumbs up or thumbs down. User ratings are important as it’s one of the core metrics used by the service’s algorithms in order to give viewing recommendations to individual accounts, so Netflix is always working to improve the feature.
A new update reportedly rolling out to iOS this week and arriving “later” on Android (via The Verge), will move the rating feature to the on-screen overlay that appears when you tap the screen while watching something. Once the update has landed on your device, you will see a “thumbs up,” “thumbs down” and a “double thumbs up” button whenever you hit pause, skip forward/backward, or check how long is left in the show/movie you’re currently watching on a mobile device.
Previously, in order to rate a piece of content, you had to visit its title card within the Netflix content library, but thanks to this upgrade telling Netflix what you think of a show or movie will take just a matter of seconds. This is definitely a small improvement but it should encourage more users to engage with the rating system, and in turn, will enable Netflix to offer more accurate recommendations.