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This article was published on August 26, 2021

Netflix begins its big gaming push with a small test in Poland

It's the beginning of a new age for Netflix

Netflix begins its big gaming push with a small test in Poland

Games in Netflix have been a long time coming, but after months of speculation, rumors, and an eventual confirmation, we’re seeing the first fruits of the company’s expansion.

Specifically, the company is testing two games for members with Android devices in Poland: Stranger Things 1984 and Stranger Things 3 — so I hope you’re a fan of that series.

Contrary to popular expectation, Netflix isn’t streaming the games live, a la xCloud. Instead, it’s simply functioning as a hub to let you download the games onto your own device, kind of like Steam on PC.

Nor are the games exclusive to the Netflix app; you can download them right from the Play Store for the time being, although you’ll still have to log into your Netflix account to play. The company says its games will be included with your membership and feature neither ads nor in-app purchases. Compatibility with iOS is expected to roll out in the coming months.

Of course, anything can change by the time the service rolls out more widely. When it revealed its gaming expansion, the company said its intention was not just to compete against the likes of Hulu and HBO, but rather against games like Fortnite, which use up a lot of valuable screen time you could be spending in the Netflix app.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the company eventually decided to increase prices for gaming-specific subscriptions, but it’s too early to know how it’ll play out.

So far, there isn’t much exciting here unless you’re a Stranger Things fan, but I’m a little surprised at how quickly the company has started its gaming rollout; it only confirmed games were coming last month. Netflix does note its still “very, very early days” and that “it’s got a lot of work to do in the months ahead, but this is the first step.”

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