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In November 2021, streaming giant Netflix surprised the world after announcing its foray into gaming with no changes to the current Netflix subscription. Since the initial announcement, Netflix has grown its gaming catalog significantly, but will the firm eventually expand to real-money games? Let’s take a look!
Netflix: From TV & Film To Gaming
Netflix initially launched as a mail rental service before its move to streaming, which made the firm a household name worldwide. The company built its reputation by providing subscribers with a slew of well-known movies and television shows before transitioning to creating its own content known as Netflix Originals, much of which has become hugely successful – The Last Kingdom, Squid Game, The Witcher, Emily In Paris, Stranger Things, Sex Education, Orange Is The New Black, The Haunting Of Hill House, Lost In Space, and others are all prime examples.
Following its November 2021 announcement of launching games, Netflix released its games. The titles, available with all Netflix subscriptions and come at no extra cost, are available on Android and iOS devices through the Netflix app or internet browser. Upon logging in, iOS and Android mobile phone users will be able to scroll through a row of games and can simply select a game and download it to a valid device.
The games, which are not available on childrens’ profiles, can be played across multiple mobile devices under the same account, and while some need an internet connection to play, others do not.
Netflix’s commitment to gaming is clear, as the firm has acquired three game developers in the last seven months. In March 2022, Netflix acquired developer Boss Fight Entertainment, whose experience with building games across multiple genres will, according to the streaming giant, “help accelerate its ability to provide Netflix users with more titles.” It also acquired Finland’s Next Games in the same month for $72 million and Night School Studio in September 2021.
The streaming giant has clear plans to expand its catalog of mobile games, but what can you play with a Netflix subscription?
What Games Does Netflix Offer?
In its initial announcement, Netflix promised to cater to “every kind of player” for all levels of play and interest. At the time of writing, the streaming giant offers 16 games, all of which are based on various genres.
There’s Dungeon Dwarves for role-playing fans, Stranger Things: 1984 and Stranger Things 3: The Game for fans of the show and RPG titles, Krispee Street and Knittens for puzzle fanatics, This Is A True Story for anyone that enjoys educational titles, strategy game Arcanium: Rise Of Akhan for anyone that enjoys the Arcane: League Of Legends show and games, Wonderputt Forever, Shooting Hoops, and Bowling Ballers for sports fans, Shatter Remastered and Teeter (Up) for traditional arcade lovers, tabletop game Dominoes Café, music-themed title Hextech Mayhem: A League Of Legends Story, and racing title Asphalt Xtreme too.
In addition to all of the above, Netflix also offers a casino-style game known as Card Blast. The game is a freemium poker-inspired title in which you must create winning hands to score points and advance to tougher levels. The game works similar to other freemium titles like Candy Crush, but does not offer real-money gambling.
Will Netflix Ever Allow Real-Money Gambling?
Online gambling has become increasingly popular over the last decade, particularly due to the emergence of smartphones. UK gambling regulator, the Gambling Commission, revealed in a 2021 report that mobile phones are the most popular device for accessing online gambling. The online gambling industry has responded to the trend, as most online casinos are now mobile-friendly; they either offer a dedicated smartphone app or are compatible with mobile phone internet browsers.
However, we doubt that Netflix will ever offer real-money gambling. Firstly, doing so means the firm would have to ensure it acquires the correct license for every jurisdiction it’s operating in, ll the while following the differing rules and conditions for each jurisdiction too. In addition, Netflix would either have to partner with an existing gambling operator or look into handling payments of its own accord and follow legal rules on the protection of player data and funds. Netflix would also have to be careful in launching into this market to avoid the hefty fines and penalties issued by gambling regulators over failure to follow the rules.
All of the above will be incredibly time-consuming for Netflix and expensive and complicated. We believe there’s little reason for Netflix to consider allowing real-money gambling, as it would arguably be too complicated, and they’d likely get little return for a lot of money and time. Netflix launched games to propel itself into the casual and accessible mobile market, not into the complicated real-money gambling market.
Netflix’s Future And Competition In Gaming
Like many other tech companies, Netflix has taken an interest in the video game industry. While console and PC gaming are the most well-known, mobile gaming continues to be one of the most profitable platforms in the industry, so we’ve seen Netflix and firms like Amazon take their turn in the industry. According to reports, Apple has shown interest with its Apple Arcade service and has submitted patents for gaming controllers, suggesting that it’s looking into going beyond the service.
But what about Netflix? Well, since the tech giant has acquired three game developers to accelerate the development and release of mobile games, it’s easy to see that the streaming giant is heavily investing in its gaming vertical and will likely continue to release new games over the coming months.
The question is whether Netflix will ever branch out of the mobile market. Although it likely won’t release real-money gambling titles, there is a chance it could expand into PC and console gaming, where it can reach more subscribers. After all, Microsoft’s Gamepass subscription service has proven popular and has forced Sony to relaunch its own PlayStation Plus subscription service to take on elements of its competitor.
If Netflix hopes to do this and expand its gaming vertical, it better act soon as there’s a lot of competition around, with more to come soon.