Netflix Games: the major feature most Netflix users have never heard of and how it works

  • Netflix Games launched in 2021 after a trial in Poland.
  • It is available on the mobile version of the app - but some TV users may also be able to access titles.
  • Features a mix of games based on Netflix shows and iconic franchises like Grand Theft Auto.
  • Games are available at no extra cost to Netflix subscribers.

Netflix has been a fixture in our homes and on-the-go for the best part of a decade now. From the early days of hosting bargain basement sequels to classics like Jaws to an original programming powerhouse, you probably think you know all there is to know about the streaming service. 

But many users are probably unaware that you can actually play video games through the Netflix app. And not just any games either, some of the greatest titles released in the last decade are included in the line-up. 

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If you are scratching your head and wondering if this is some elaborate long-delayed April Fool’s joke, here’s all you need to know: 

Netflix has video games? 

It might come as a major surprise but Netflix actually has a surprisingly robust line-up of games that can be played at no extra cost as part of your subscription to the streamer. However it is slightly hidden away and many users probably have no idea that you could actually play video games through the Netflix app. 

When did Netflix add games? 

A computer screen and mobile phone display the Netflix logo. Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images.A computer screen and mobile phone display the Netflix logo. Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images.
A computer screen and mobile phone display the Netflix logo. Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images.

The streaming giant started to dabble in the world of mobile games in 2021, which might explain why it passed most of us by. For the obvious reason, it does often feel like 2020 to 2022 are a bit of black hole and huge parts of the Covid years feel like they’ve been lost to the void. 

The lockdowns and general stay-at-home guidance saw a huge boom in the video game market as people were spending more and more time indoors. Netflix clearly didn’t want to miss out on offering yet another reason to never leave its apps and got in on the game (pardon the pun) as well. 

First testing it out with a Strange Things themed offering in Poland, Netflix Games launched with five titles in November 2021. But the company had dabbled in the interactive media space previously, the most high profile case being the 2018 Black Mirror special Bandersnatch which featured elements of a choose your own adventure game as the viewer makes decisions for the main character. 

How to find Netflix Games? 

If you only have the Netflix app installed on your TV, this might be one of the major reasons you had no idea the streamer offered video games. Netflix Games is most widely available on the mobile or tablet versions of the app. 

On both Android and Apple devices, you can find a Mobile Games row when you open the app on your handheld. 

Netflix has been trialling games via its TV app and the web version, including for users in the UK. However it is in a beta version and is limited to specific devices.

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How to play games on Netflix? 

Once you have found the game you want to try on the Mobile Games row, simply tap the icon and you will get a prompt to ‘Get Game’. This will take you to either the Play Store, on Android, or App Store, on Apple, and you can install the game from there - if you have enough space to complete the download of course. 

After the game has been installed, you can access it from inside the Netflix mobile app or by tapping its icon on your device's home screen. 

Games on TV 

A stable internet connection is required to play games on the TV app, Netflix recommends a wired connection with download speeds of 10 Mbps or higher. 

It is available on the following TVs: 

  • Amazon Fire TV streaming media players
  • Chromecast with Google TV
  • LG Smart TVs
  • Roku devices and TVs (models)
  • Samsung Smart TVs
  • Nvidia Shield TV
  • Xfinity 4k devices
  • Xumo devices and TVs

If you have one of the above TVs or devices, you can use a mobile device as a game controller through the Netflix Game Controller app on iPhone or iPad or the Netflix App on Android.

How to play on Netflix.com 

Netflix is trialling its Mobile Games on the web version but currently users must open Netflix.com through either Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge web browser. Your computer must also have a trackpad or mouse and a keyboard. 

Are the games on Netflix any good? 

When you first hear Netflix Games, your mind probably jumps to licensed titles based on the streamer’s biggest hits - and on the one hand you wouldn’t be wrong. Among the games on offer are a variety of Stranger Things themed titles, a Shadow and Bone game, multiple Too Hot to Handle games and of course a Queen’s Gambit themed chess title. 

But beyond that Netflix actually is home to some of the very best video games released in the last few decades. Flagship titles include Hades, one of the most acclaimed games of 2020, indie classic Oxenfree - and its sequel -, Football Manager and three old school Grand Theft Auto games (III, Vice City and San Andreas) just to name a few. 

Notable titles: 

  • Death’s Door 
  • Grand Theft Auto III 
  • Grand Theft Auto Vice City 
  • Grand Theft Auto San Andreas 
  • Hades 
  • TMNT: Shredder's Revenge
  • Dead Cells 
  • Kentucky Route Zero 
  • Oxenfree 
  • Oxenfree II 
  • Twelve Minutes - featuring voices of James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley and Willem Dafoe
  • Braid, Anniversary Edition 
  • Farming Simulator 23 
  • Immortality 
  • Football Manager 24 
  • Into the Breach 

Are you going to try out some of the gaming offerings on Netflix this weekend? If you are looking for some great videos to have on in the background when you play, the excellent NoClip YouTube channel has a fantastic documentary series about the development of Hades

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