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Jan 24, 2022
Netflix's 13 mobile games have been installed more than eight million times since they launched on November 3, 2021. Not all 13 games were released simultaneously, but five did go live on day one. You can see the staggered release schedule in the image below.
Last November, Netflix began bundling mobile games into its subscription at no extra cost. You can find the games in your Netflix app or through the app stores, as they are available to download and launch separately. However, a Netflix subscription is required to play the games.
The games need to be available for download individually in order to not act as a competitive app store in the eyes of Apple and Google. With the games available for download (and only playable via subscription to Netflix), Netflix qualifies as a "reader app". Reader apps offer content purchased previously on a subscription basis, and these apps are allowed to bypass Apple's IAP system. For more on the nuances and (in)consistencies surrounding this situation, check out this article on MobileDevMemo.
Netflix's top game, Teeter (Up) has about 820k downloads since launch (11/03/21) so the publisher is by no means a powerhouse to be reckoned with. Many top tier game publishers can easily pull more than one million downloads within just a few days of launch.
Even in the face of new launches, the downloads for Netflix games are headed down from what was not an amazing start. It's early but so far Netflix is learning that competing in mobile is hard. Luckily for the company, it has the resources to bounce back.
The group of games Netflix has launched is a well-rounded bunch; a couple of card games, a couple of hyper-casual games, a racing game, a mini golf game, an endless runner, a match 3 game, a hidden object game, and a few others. Of course there are the two Stranger Things adventure games, based on Netflix's own IP.
The point of these mobile games is more about customer retention, but if the company continues to invest in this area, it's possible they generate a hit mobile game. Now, is that game good enough for someone to pay $8.99 a month? Definitely not, but it might be good enough to get the person to sign up for Netflix instead of HBO Max.