Netflix Expands Its Horizon very gently: Cloud Gaming Enters the Scene
Netflix, a household name in the world of streaming entertainment, is now making waves in the realm of gaming. In a strategic move, the company has announced the commencement of its first public tests for cloud-streamed games. This significant development has set the stage for what could be the dawn of the “Netflix of Games.” As of Monday, a select group of Netflix subscribers in Canada and the UK have been granted access to explore the world of Netflix games via compatible TVs, connected TV devices, and web browsers on Netflix.com.
A Glimpse into Netflix’s Gaming Vision
Mike Verdu, the Vice President of Games at Netflix, has described this initial phase as a “limited beta test” targeting a specific subset of members. While not all subscribers in Canada and the UK will immediately gain access, this small-scale launch marks a monumental step forward in Netflix’s ambitious foray into the gaming landscape.
From Mobile to Cloud: A Natural Evolution
Netflix first ventured into the gaming sphere by introducing mobile gaming as a complimentary perk for subscribers back in November 2021. Initially, these offerings were exclusively available on iOS and Android platforms. However, with the introduction of cloud streaming, Netflix is set to transcend these limitations. Subscribers will now have the potential to enjoy Netflix’s curated gaming titles across a broader range of devices, including TVs and PCs. This move is poised to position Netflix as a contender for gaming enthusiasts’ precious time, alongside their favorite movies and TV shows.
The Gaming Lineup
The current selection of games available through this limited beta test includes two intriguing titles: the original “Oxenfree,” developed by Night School Studio (now a part of Netflix), and a fresh addition called “Molehew’s Mining Adventure,” described by Verdu as a “gem-mining arcade game.” These offerings provide a glimpse into the diverse gaming experiences that Netflix aims to provide to its subscribers.
Seamless Integration: Playing the Netflix Way
When indulging in these cloud-streamed games on a TV, players will wield control using their smartphones. For Android users, the controller will be conveniently accessible through the Netflix app. On the iOS front, a dedicated controller app needs to be downloaded, a recent addition to the App Store. If playing on the web, a trusty combination of mouse and keyboard will serve as the tools for immersive gameplay.
The Experience Factor
While personal experience with Netflix’s streamed games is yet to be obtained, the brand’s extensive history in streaming video content suggests a certain level of smoothness. However, the stakes are higher in gaming, where any hiccups in streaming could prove to be more irksome than when binge-watching TV shows.
Small Beginnings, Big Aspirations
Netflix’s cautious approach to this beta test indicates its commitment to ensuring a seamless user experience. This aligns with the company’s perspective on cloud gaming as a “value add.” Unlike Google’s unsuccessful Stadia venture, Netflix’s strategy resonates more with Microsoft’s philosophy, which allows room for refinement over time. With an array of 70 mobile games at subscribers’ disposal, even if cloud gaming encounters initial challenges, alternatives are readily available.
The Future Beckons
As the clouds of uncertainty part, Netflix’s venture into cloud gaming marks the convergence of entertainment mediums, promising a future where streaming movies, TV shows, and games reside under a single digital roof. The limited beta test in Canada and the UK is but a precursor to a grander vision that Netflix is actively pursuing. Subscribers can look forward to an expanded gaming library, seamlessly integrated across devices, bringing entertainment to the forefront of modern technology.
Netflix’s groundbreaking entry into cloud gaming is a testament to the company’s ability to adapt, evolve, and innovate. With its tested expertise in streaming content, the introduction of games adds a new dimension to the Netflix experience. While challenges may arise, the company’s dedication to refining the gaming platform reflects a commitment to its subscriber base. The ongoing beta test heralds a future where Netflix becomes not just a streaming giant, but a gaming powerhouse as well.
Q1: What countries are currently included in the Netflix cloud gaming beta test? A: The beta test is currently limited to Netflix subscribers in Canada and the UK.
Q2: Can I play these cloud-streamed games on my TV? A: Yes, you can play these games on compatible TVs and connected TV devices.
Q3: How do I control games when playing on a TV? A: For Android users, the controller is accessible through the Netflix app. iOS users need to download a special controller app.
Q4: What are the available games in the beta test? A: The current lineup includes “Oxenfree” and “Molehew’s Mining Adventure.”
Q5: Is this cloud gaming addition a separate subscription? A: No, cloud gaming is offered as a value-added feature to existing Netflix subscribers.