Netflix tests streaming games in the UK and Canada

15 Aug 2023

Image: Netflix

Two Netflix games – Oxenfree and Molehew’s Mining Adventure – will now be available to select users on TVs and computers.

In the works for at least two years, Netflix has started testing a streaming option for its games service.

The streaming giant announced yesterday (14 August) that it has started rolling out a “limited beta test” to a small number of members in Canada and the UK on select TVs.

The two games – Oxenfree and Molehew’s Mining Adventure – are also being rolled out for PCs and Macs through on supported browsers in the next few weeks.

What’s more, users playing the games on their TV can use their phones as controllers. Meanwhile, PC and Mac gamers on can use their keyboard and mouse.

“Our goal has always been to have a game for everyone, and we are working hard to meet members where they are with an accessible, smooth and ubiquitous service,” said Mike Verdu, vice-president of games at Netflix.

“Today, we’re taking the first step in making games playable on every device where our members enjoy Netflix – TVs, computers and mobile.”

Netflix first made a play for the gaming sector in July 2021 when it told shareholders in an earnings call that it would move into a “new content category” just like it did with its expansion into original films, animation and unscripted TV.

Since then, it has been acquiring gaming studios around the world. In March last year, it acquired Helsinki-based Next Games for €65m, bringing mobile games based on well-known franchises such as The Walking Dead and Stranger Things under Netflix’s ambit. In September, the company announced it was creating a second games studio in Helsinki.

It previously also acquired US-based Night School Studio, which was behind mystery adventure game Oxenfree – which is being released now – as well as Boss Fight Entertainment.

In November 2021, mobile gaming was offered to subscribers on iOS and Android mobile devices. It now has more than 50 exclusive games for mobile on its platform.

The limited beta test will help Netflix improve its gaming experience before being rolled out to the wider public. Some partners helping it roll out the beta include Amazon Fire TV Streaming Media Players, Chromecast with Google TV and Samsung Smart TVs.

“By making games available on more devices, we hope to make games even easier to play for our members around the world,” Verdu went on.

“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.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic