A new report from Apptopia, via CNBC, has outlined concerning numbers for Netflix‘s video game foray. While the company has begun pushing deeper into the mobile video games market with great original games like Poinpy and modern classics like Into the Breach, available to download and play for subscribers on smartphones, it appears less than 1% of Netflix subscribers are actually playing these games.
As noted by Apptopia, Netflix mobile games have been downloaded 23.3 million times, with just 1.7 million daily users. That’s compared to a total of 221 million overall subscribers for Netflix. It’s a worrying sign, compounded by Netflix now shedding subscribers on a quarterly basis.
In the second quarter of 2022, Netflix reportedly lost one million subscribers. A push to remove shared accounts has also off-sided many loyal fans, with some worrying about the added cost involved if households can no longer split the subscription fee.
Netflix is pushing into the games market in an attempt to offer customers something more, but with so few aware of these games – or potentially just not caring about their inclusion – the investment in gaming is certainly not going as well as it could be.
While Netflix Chief Operating Officer Greg Peters admitted it would be months or years before the team learned how to properly implement games on its service, it’s safe to say they haven’t had the strongest start.
‘We’re going to be experimental and try a bunch of things,’ Peters reportedly said during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call in 2021.
So far, this approach has already created some fantastic games, including the addictive and colourful Poinpy. But while there are plans to house at least 50 unique games within the Netflix ecosystem by the end of 2022, the low engagement with these titles may force a rethink of Netflix’s approach.
While the company has already invested in major projects for the future, including a new Reigns spin-off, a Shadow and Bone game adaptation, and a Queen’s Gambit chess game, the company has been notably vague about how it plans to actually get people playing these games.
As noted by CNBC, it also hasn’t disclosed how much capital it’s investing into its video games segment. Recently, the company acquired Finnish developer Next Games (Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales) for €65 million (AU $99 million), and it’s likely the company has other studios on its radar.
For now, however, the return on this investment isn’t particularly clear. While Netflix Games has a prominent icon on the mobile app’s home screen, it’s fair to say few people have investigated this feature. As such, millions are missing out on some of the best mobile games around.
Netflix’s foray into the gaming space is still in its very early stages, and could have the potential to turn around, but for now the figures are very disappointing – and may lead to a new change of pace.