Netflix begins testing mobile games in its Android app in Poland

 Netflix stated today that it will begin testing mobile games on its Android app for its Polish subscribers. Paying customers will be able to test out two games at launch: “Stranger Things: 1984” and “Stranger Things 3,” which were previously available on the Apple App Store, Google Play, and, in the case of the newer release, other platforms such as PC and consoles. Subscribers will be prompted to the Google Play Store to download the games, even though they are available from within the Netflix mobile app's main tab.

Members must then validate their Netflix credentials in order to play.

Members can access the game at any time by selecting "Play" on the game's page within the Netflix app or starting it directly from their mobile device.

“It's still very early days,” a Netflix representative said of the debut, “and we'll be working hard in the months ahead to give the best possible experience with our no adverts, no in-app purchases approach to gaming.”

For years, the firm has been increasing its gaming investment, seeing the potential for a larger entertainment universe that connects to its most popular series. Netflix announced a variety of gaming integrations across major platforms like Roblox and Fortnite, as well as plans to release new "Stranger Things" games, during the E3 gaming expo in 2019.

Netflix has been collaborating on mobile with BonusXP, a game firm located in Allen, Texas, whose debut game for Netflix, “Stranger Things: The Game,” has been renamed “Stranger Things: 1984” to distinguish it from others. In the “Stranger Things” storyline, that game takes place after season 1 and before season 2, while the follow-up title, “Stranger Things 3,” is a playable version of the Netflix series' third season. (Be on the lookout for spoilers!)

While the games were publicly available on app stores, Netflix refused to say how popular they were in terms of users or instals.

Netflix adds that, as of the start of the test in Poland, users will need to have a membership to download the films, as they are currently only available to customers. Existing users who have previously downloaded the game from Google Play will not be affected. They can play the game normally or re-download it from their account library if they already had it installed. New players, on the other hand, will be able to get the game only through the Netflix app.

According to Netflix, the purpose of the test is to better understand how mobile gaming will resonate with Netflix subscribers and to assess what other enhancements to the overall functionality Netflix may need to make. Poland was chosen as the first test market because it has a large mobile gaming audience, making it a strong fit for this early input.

Beyond "the coming months," Netflix couldn't tell when the test will be expanded to additional nations.

The streamer recently announced that it would expand its mobile game services during its second-quarter earnings, citing gaming as "another new content category" for its business, comparable to its "growth into original films, animation, and unscripted TV."

The news came after a steep drop in new customers following the pandemic-fueled surge in streaming. Netflix lost 430,000 customers in North America in the second quarter, its third-largest quarterly loss in a decade. It also provided worse estimates for the coming quarter, estimating a 3.5 million subscriber increase below analysts' expectations of 5.9 million. Netflix, on the other hand, blamed a lighter content slate, in part due to COVID-related production delays, for its slowing growth rather than the fear of competition.