Netflix Games Are Coming to Your Television




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Netflix isn’t playing games with its ambitions to be a site for streaming video AND video games.

The company on Monday night quietly released the Netflix Game Controller app in Apple’s App Store, which will serve as a virtual controller for games streamed on your TV. A note at the bottom of the app said “Netflix Games on TV are in beta,” and there are no games available for the TV yet.

The release is the latest sign that Netflix’s video game initiative, which has been around for a year and allows you to access games with your subscription plan, isn’t just some experiment. At a time when so many streaming services are available — including a number of free ones — Netflix wants to give its customers more reasons to stick around.

Netflix’s library isn’t for hardcore gamers — you’re not going to find AAA titles like Call of Duty or God of War here. The casual games are more akin to mobile titles and offer a distraction and another option for entertainment.

But the company has bigger plans for gaming. Netflix’s VP of games, Mike Verdu, said last year at the Techcrunch Disrupt event that it was exploring cloud gaming (via Protocol) as a way to get them on every screen, similar to its video content. The company said it had 40 games slated to launch this year, with more than a dozen developed in-house.

By utilizing the phone as a controller, Netflix is hoping the ease in which you can get started with a game will encourage users to try them on a TV. It’s a lot cheaper than buying a physical controller, although a phone’s touchscreen lacks the tactile response of actual buttons and joysticks.

For now, the app is only available on iOS.

Netflix wasn’t available to comment on its upcoming plans for gaming.

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