It seems that it’s finally happening, the attempt to wring more money out of players is finally hitting Netflix Games. If you’re not aware, streaming giant Netflix has, for the past few years, been running its own games service. It’s a great little selection that includes dozens of mobile games as well as some stand-out cross-platform titles like Dead Cells and Samurai Shodown. Sadly, it’s also gone mostly unnoticed.
But if you’re excited to open up the Netflix Games section and take a crack at some of these excellent titles you may want to do so quickly. Because it seems that Netflix has realised what a great deal they’re offering – perhaps too great – and are considering rowing it back.
Recent news articles from the Wall Street Journal and Yahoo Finance indicate that Netflix is considering adding both in-app purchases and paid titles to their gaming section. It’s quite a reversal, and consistent with their move to bring adverts to a format that used to be all about not having adverts. So what gives? After years of being unable to somehow push Netflix Games, why are they charging now?
Well, the obvious answer is money, Netflix will have paid big bucks for some of the larger titles – relatively speaking. Remember these games are free to all subscribers and they want a greater return on their investment. Just like the (extremely controversial) plans to introduce commercials to what was previously an advertising-free platform.
No such thing as a free game
While it’s frustrating for fans of games on Netflix, the decision to change how the service works makes sense. Whenever we mention it, the usual reply from someone not already familiar with the gaming section is, “Wait, Netflix has GAMES?” Add onto that the fact that Netflix clearly wants to use their service to push games based on their properties and it’s clear why a lack of visibility and competing games in their section are making Netflix Games a point of frustration for the streaming giant.
After all, if you can play Samurai Shodown, why would you play Too Hot to Handle?
It’s a bit sad to see a move like this being considered since Netflix’s gaming offering has been surprisingly strong. The section is also a great addition to the regular benefits of a subscription and boasts some really strong titles like Into The Breach and the aforementioned Dead Cells. So what can we expect? Will this new pricing model be applied retroactively, if they do indeed go ahead with it?
Well, hopefully not. Ideally, what we’d want to see would be those games already on Netflix remaining free and any new arrivals adopting this new pricing model. Certainly, this highlights the risk of using subscriptions, because ultimately you don’t actually ‘own’ anything that’s on these services. You simply rent it. But while you’ve got a chance, check out our list of the best games currently on the service and try them before they’re potentially priced up!
Ultimately, if anything this is more likely to dissuade users from trying out Netflix Games rather than draw them in. After all, in the most ruthless possible sense, if you want people to keep paying for something that was once free they have to be using it in the first place. And with Netflix Games still struggling to achieve widespread popularity with subscribers, charging for it is more likely to drive users away than bring them in.
But what do you think? Will you keep playing Netflix Games if they start charging? Would you pay more for your monthly subscription? Let us know, and leave a comment below!