Netflix Games launched in November
It appears that a minuscule number of people are playing Netflix Games.
Citing data from app analytics firm Apptopia, CNBC reports that Netflix’s mobile games have been downloaded 23.3 million times with an average of 1.7 million daily users. For context, Netflix has 221 million subscribers, so that works out to less than one percent of the streamer’s customer base actually playing these games.
Launched last November, Netflix Games offer a selection of Android and iOS titles to Netflix subscribers at no additional cost. Dozens of games are available through the platform, with the catalogue getting multiple new titles every month.
It’s important to note, however, that we don’t actually know what Netflix’s targets were for its nascent gaming service. Given that the company is so nebulous about the performance of its original content, it’s not surprising that it hasn’t really said much about its gaming efforts.
Leanne Loombe, Netflix’s head of external games, even acknowledged this during a panel at the Tribeca Film Festival in June:
“We started in November of last year, so only a handful of months and we’re still intentionally keeping things a little bit quiet because we’re still learning and experimenting and trying to figure out what things are going to actually resonate with our members, what games people want to play. So it’s really important that we have some time to build up to that.”
And in Netflix’s fourth-quarter earnings call last year, COO Greg Peters admitted that the company is “many months and really, frankly, years” away from fully understanding the games business. In the meantime, Peters said, the streamer will be “experimental and try a bunch of things” with games while having eyes on “the long-term prize.”
What that “prize” means remains to be seen, and it’s unknown how much Netflix is actually investing in games. That said, it has acquired three developers, including Night School Studio, the team behind the acclaimed Oxenfree game. And by the end of 2022, it aims to double its mobile games offering.
Regardless of Netflix’s broader plans for gaming, it’s clear that the streamer is looking at a variety of ways to mitigate its declining business. Last quarter, the streamer reported a loss of nearly one million subscribers, which came after losing 200,000 other subscribers during the first quarter of 2022. Other changes to Netflix’s business strategy include an ad-supported tier and a paywall on password sharing.