Netflix Games Could Be Forced to List Each Title Separately on App Store

BY Chandraveer Mathur

Published 8 Nov 2021

Netflix Gaming

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that Netflix Games could be forced to enlist each game offered on the App Store. Due to Apple’s rules, users will have to download and install each game separately, denying Netflix the ability to provide a cohesive experience within the main app.

Following a dispute between Apple and Microsoft last year, the former’s App Store rules became the subject of heated debate. At the time, Microsoft was due to release its cloud-based gaming service, Xbox Cloud Gaming, on the App Store. Like Netflix now, it planned to offer all the games through one main app. However, Microsoft was forced to release it as a web experience for iOS users.

Netflix’s new service called Netflix Games operates under similar conditions on Android. Users can browse the games on offer via the Netflix app but are redirected to the Google Play Store to install and play each title separately. Gurman speculated that Netflix will have to adopt a similar approach on Apple’s App Store.

Because of Apple’s ban on all-in-one services, the current individual app implementation on Android of the Netflix service gives us a preview of how the Netflix offering will function on iOS.

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.

In September last year, Apple updated its App Store Review Guidelines to prevent apps like Netflix Games and Xbox Cloud Gaming from being published because they function like app stores themselves. It only allows developers to submit every offered game as a separate app to ensure compliance with the guidelines. This is partly because Apple operates its own gaming service, called Apple Arcade, offered directly on the App Store. Gurman opined that while Netflix can follow in Microsoft’s footsteps, the approach will not put Netflix Games “in the best position to succeed.”

Our Take

Presently, Netflix Games is not cloud-based on Android and iOS, but that could soon change for the former. However, the average iOS user will continue to be inconvenienced. From a player’s perspective, being redirected to the App Store to download and install every title separately is an unnecessary additional step that degrades the user experience. Netflix Games’ transition to a cloud-based platform for iOS users is also heavily dependent on the App Store guidelines.

Netflix Games will debut on iOS soon with five titles: ‘Stranger Things: 1984,’ ‘Stranger Things 3: The Game,’ ‘Shooting Hoops,’ ‘Card Blast,’ and ‘Teeter Up.’ They’ll think Apple is unjust in disallowing other apps to act like an app store themselves? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

[Via Bloomberg]