Aug 14, 2023 - Technology

Netflix begins streaming games to TVs and computers

Computer rendering of a TV and laptop running a start screen for the game Oxenfree, plus a phone running a controller app that puts virtual buttons on the phone's screen

Netflix's TV and computer gaming set-up, complete with phone-based controller. Image: Netflix

Netflix is making some of the company's video games playable on TVs and computers, expanding its reach beyond mobile gaming.

Why it matters: Netflix is taking another step toward using its massive subscriber base to become a player in the video game industry.

Details: The company said today it will allow a small number of users in Canada and the U.K. to test two of its games via smart TVs or on PC/Mac through

  • Computer players can use a mouse and keyboard to play the games: Oxenfree, from Netflix-owned Night School Studio, and Molehew's Mining Adventure.
  • People playing the TV can use a new app released by Netflix last week that turns their phone into a game controller, complete with virtual buttons.
  • The games are played over Netflix's streaming services, as opposed to its mobile games, which were downloaded to phones.

The big picture: Netflix started offering mobile games at no additional cost to subscribers in late 2021, and has proceeded to buy game studios, start new ones, hire senior game development talent and roll out dozens of games.

The intrigue: Netflix's new test conspicuously avoids anything involving traditional game consoles.

  • It does not support Xbox or PlayStation controllers.
  • In its announcement today, Netflix described the test as "the first step in making games playable on every device where our members enjoy Netflix" and then named "TVs, computers, and mobile," which omits consoles. (Netflix has been popular on consoles since 2008).

Sign up for the Axios Gaming newsletter here.

Go deeper