Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Netflix may bring its gaming service to TVs, with iPhones serving as controllers

Netflix is working on a feature that will bring its games to smart TVs and allow players to use their iPhone as a controller, reports from Bloomberg and MacRumors‘ Steve Moser said on Wednesday.

The move would take Netflix’s gaming service beyond only smartphones and tablets, giving subscribers more ways to play. And for iPhone owners, it also eliminates the need to buy a dedicated controller, making it more likely that people would give its games a go.

Both reports are based on specific code found within Netflix’s iOS app that says: “A game on your TV needs a controller to play. Do you want to use this phone as a game controller?” Availability for Android users isn’t mentioned in either report, though it’s likely it would come at some point.

It’s not clear if and when Netflix will release the feature to its global community of around 230 million subscribers, but the plan fits with the company’s recent comment that it wants to make games “playable on every Netflix device that you have.”

Netflix launched its gaming service in 2021, though various reports have suggested it’s struggled to gain traction among subscribers to its video streaming service. Data from an app analytics firm last year, for example, said Netflix games had been downloaded just over 23 million times and played by 1.7 million subscribers daily, equalling around 1% of its global subscriber base.

But in its determination to give its community more value for money in the face of growing competition from rival streaming services, Netflix is set to double down on its gaming efforts with the release of 40 more titles before the end of this year, according to a news release shared by company executive Leanne Loombe last week.

Loombe also said that Netflix has 70 games in development with various partners and 16 more being prepared by its in-house game studios.

The plan is to release new games “every month,” with subscribers offered “indie darlings, award-winning hits, RPGs, narrative adventures, puzzle games, and everything in between.”

Whether the addition of more games to its platform helps boost engagement remains to be seen, but bringing the service to TVs would surely persuade at least some folks to try out more of the offerings when they’re not binge-watching movies and TV shows.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
The Apple Watch is the best iPhone camera accessory you didn’t know you needed
A person wearing an Apple Watch Series 9, made for the OuttaFocus column.

Photo taken with an iPhone 15 Pro Max controlled using an Apple Watch Series 9. Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Smartwatches and cameras rarely go together very well. We’ve seen smart wristwear with cameras fitted in the past, but the combination wasn’t very successful, and few manufacturers even bother today.

Read more
This is the iPhone concept of my dreams
iPhone concept mimicking iPad Pro desgn.

It’s an odd day to be talking about iPhone design. Yesterday, Apple delivered what can be called the pinnacle of tablet aesthetics with the 2024 iPad Pro, which is even slimmer than the iPod Nano. Today, Bloomberg reports that Duncan Kerr -- a design executive from the legendary Jony Ive group and was a key figure behind the iPhone, iPad, and Mac products since 1999 -- is leaving the company.

It’s a great loss for Apple and disheartening news for iPhone enthusiasts. Apple almost seems obsessed with the design language it introduced with the iPhone 11 series. And if recent leaks are any indication, we are going back to the iPhone X days with the non-Pro iPhone 16 models later this year.

Read more
A big iPhone update is right around the corner
An iPhone 15 Pro Max sitting upright, showing one of its home screens.

With announcements for 2024 models of the iPad Air and iPad Pro, today's been a busy day of Apple news. But the iPad isn't the only Apple product in the news today. Following the big announcements from its event earlier this morning, Apple also shared some important news regarding the next iPhone update.

As of Tuesday, May 7, Apple has begun rolling out RC builds for iOS 17.5. RC stands for "Release Candidate," and it's the last beta version of a software update that Apple releases before its final public rollout. In other news, the official iOS 17.5 update should be right around the corner.

Read more