In brief: Netflix is expanding its gaming library from mobile-only to TVs, PCs, and Macs. The tech giant has started testing its game streaming tech outside of the US, with Oxenfree and Molehew's Mining Adventure the two titles currently available in the beta.
Netflix offers unlimited access to over 50 exclusive mobile games as part of its membership subscription. They have been limited to Android phones & tablets, and iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, but we did hear in March that it might be expanding the service to include smart televisions.
Now, Netflix has confirmed that it is taking the first step in making its games playable on every device. It starts with a limited beta test among a small number of members in Canada and the UK on select TVs. The test will expand to PCs and Macs via Netflix.com on supported browsers in the next few weeks.
Only two games will be available to play during the test. One is Night School Studio's Oxenfree, the excellent supernatural thriller that was released in 2016 and recently got a sequel. The other title is gem-mining arcade game Molehew's Mining Adventure.
Those playing on a compatible television can use their smartphone to control the action on screen; Netflix has just released a controller app for this purpose. You can link the two by scanning a QR code that appears on the TV after selecting a game.
The PC and Mac games will be playable using traditional keyboard and mouse controls, as one would expect.
The aim of the test is to ensure the streaming tech and controller app work as intended before the wider rollout.
Netflix writes that Games on TV will operate on select devices, including Amazon Fire TV Streaming Media Players, Chromecast with Google TV, LG TVs, Nvidia Shield TV, Roku devices and TVs, Samsung Smart TVs, and Walmart ONN, with more devices added to the list on an ongoing basis.
Game streaming is a difficult business, as Google found out when Stadia was finally killed off. But Netflix has the advantage of 240 million subscribers who will automatically be able to stream the games as part of their subscription. The company admits, however, that it isn't trying to compete with industry giants like PlayStation or Xbox.
Netflix has 40 games set to be launched this year. It is also developing 16 at its in-house studios and 70 more with its partners. Since entering the gaming business in November 2021, Netflix has released 70 mobile titles.