Having conquered the world of instant must-see (and, diplomatically, “less must-see”) entertainment to TVs around the world, Netflix is now looking towards game streaming.

It’s a bold move, considering even the Scrooge-McDuck-style billions of dollars in Google’s pockets couldn’t make it commercially viable with Stadia. But Netflix still thinks it’s worth a punt, as the company’s vice president for games told TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference last year.

“We’re very seriously exploring a cloud gaming offering so that we can reach members on TVs and on PCs,” he said. “We’re going to approach this the same way we did with mobile, which is start small, be humble, be thoughtful, and then build out.”

That first small, humble step might be around the corner. MacRumors’ Steve Moser has found a hidden code string in the latest iOS Netflix app hinting at the arrival of big-screen gaming — a sizeable step up from the selection of mobile phone titles it currently offers as part of a membership.

“A game on your TV needs a controller to play,” the text reads. “Do you want to use this phone as a game controller?”

True, to most experienced gamers, the answer to that question is “I’d rather punch myself in the face”, given what a horrible experience virtual analogue sticks and buttons provide. But then this feature — whether it’s for streamed AAA games or mobile titles on the big screen — likely isn’t aimed at them. 

Hardcore gamers have consoles or PCs with graphics cards hefty enough to double up as a lethal weapon. They probably don’t stream their games, but if they do it’ll be via GeForce Now — where a powerful remote gaming PC powers their own purchased PC games — or Xbox Cloud Gaming to supplement their Xbox console. 

Netflix, on the other hand, has something that could be bigger: an install base of millions of potential gamers who don’t have the kit, but might like it if they gave it a chance. If Netflix can act as a gateway drug to gaming, then it won’t be the only company that benefits.

Alan Martin
Alan is an experienced and versatile writer with the unique distinction of having written for both The New Statesman and Nuts. The list of publications Alan has written for doesn't stop there. His work has also been published in: Wired, CNET, Gizmodo UK, ShortList, NME, TechRadar, The i, The Independent, The Evening Standard, City Metric, Macworld, Pocket Gamer, Expert Reviews, Coach, The Inquirer, Rock Paper Shotgun, Tom's Guide, T3, PC Pro, IT Pro, Ideal Home, Livingetc, Stuff, Business Insider, theBit, Wareable, and Trusted Reviews. Alan now covers a range of subjects for ReviewsFire, with a focus on news - his unique style of covering technology news is a key part of ReviewsFire's success.

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