Netflix currently testing how to launch its gaming service on the iPhone

Netflix on iPhone X
Netflix on iPhone X (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Netflix is reportedly testing its gaming launch on the iPhone.
  • The company plans to launch games individually on the App Store.
  • Customers will be able to browse the games on the Netflix app.

Back in July, Netflix announced that it would be venturing into the gaming market. Not only did the company announce that it would be focusing on mobile games, but it also said that customers would enjoy the games as part of their current Netflix subscription.

Netflix says it views gaming as another content category, similar to its expansion into original films, animation, and unscripted TV. Best of all, the company confirmed games would be included in subscriptions at no extra cost.

The move puts the company on the path to running right into Apple Arcade, Apple's gaming service. In order to compete with Apple Arcade, it appears that Netflix has been testing how it could launch such a service on iOS.

According to the latest issue of Mark Gurman's Power On newsletter, the company plans to launch games individually on the App Store and that customers would be able to browse them on the Netflix app and then download them on the App Store.

Netflix has been actively testing games on iOS, and—according to code discovered by developer Steve Moser and shared with Power On—Netflix will release all of its games on Apple's App Store individually and let users launch the games via the Netflix app. They won't all be downloadable and playable within the app itself.This approach is a solution, but not one that will put Netflix's gaming service in the best position to succeed. Consumers tend to prefer all-in-one services. Again, the current Android offering also has that limitation, but I'd expect that will only be the case for a limited time.

This is currently the only feasible way to launch such a service as Apple currently blocks developers from launching an all-in-one gaming app. These rules have prevented services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Google Stadia from launching apps on the iPhone. Instead, the developers have had to build access to their service through the iPhone's browser.

It's still unclear when Netflix will launch games on the iPhone but it will certainly create even more tension between the companies. Netflix is known as one of the major developers who will not offer sign-ups in their app (a way to avoid the App Store fees) and also does not integrate with the Apple TV app.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.