Netflix is reportedly working on an iOS version of its mobile games service after globally rolling it out for Android users earlier this month. But in order for that to happen, the streaming service platform will have to “tiptoe” around Apple’s App Store rules.
Previously, Netflix announced that Netflix Games will roll out to Android users. Netflix subscribers can already download Netflix games like Stranger Things: 1984, and Shooting Hoops from the Google Play Store. But Netflix has also recently released games to the app itself. When on an Android device, Netflix Games will come in its own dedicated row and have a dedicated tab.
Bloomberg tech reporter Mark Gurman reported in his newsletter that Netflix is also working on an iOS version of the service. However, Apple’s App Store policies will prevent Netflix from making games available from its app.
This is due to Apple barring third-party apps from functioning as a hub for games like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Google Stadia. To work around this rule, some cloud gaming services like Facebook’s (or Meta’s) service offer their games through a web app.
However, there are still big limitations on web games imposed by Apple’s Safari browser. Sound is turned off by default, games can’t send push notifications, graphics aren’t as powerful as they can be in native apps, and the app is also not easily discovered on the App Store.
“Apple will need to change its rules or grant Netflix an exemption. That leaves the ultimate success of Netflix’s service in the hands of Apple, a longtime partner but also a growing rival,” said Gurman.
Netflix already has big plans for its gaming expansion. It has previously announced the acquisition of its first game studio—Night School Studio, which has already released a Stranger Things-like game on its own called Oxenfree.