Streaming service Netflix is expanding its gaming lineup once again with the launch of two more titles, which will begin to roll out globally starting today at 5 PM ET. Among the new addition is Riot Games’ “Hextech Mayhem,” a League of Legends story, which is also available through other gaming platforms and marketplaces, including Nintendo Switch, Steam, the Epic Games Store, and GOG.com, where it’s offered as a paid download of $9.99. The other new title, “Dungeon Dwarves,” comes from Canadian developer Hyper Hippo, a company founded by Club Penguin co-founder Lance Priebe in 2012.
Both of the titles launching today represent new gaming partnerships for Netflix.
Netflix notes that “Hextech Mayhem,” a fast-paced rhythm runner, had already soft-launched in test markets Poland, Italy, Spain and Brazil, but is now launching to global subscribers. Notably, this is a fairly new game that just became available to other gaming platforms in November 2021. It also represents the first major gaming franchise to come to the Netflix games collection. However, it’s not the first Netflix game that’s sold elsewhere. Recently added “Arcanium: Rise of Akhan” is also a premium title available on other platforms.
The dungeon crawler “Dungeon Dwarves,” meanwhile, is just now becoming available to Netflix members. It’s the first and only idle game to launch on the Netflix service.
Like its other games, Netflix users will be directed to the new titles through the company’s apps on iOS and Android. On Android, users can find games in multiple places, including on a dedicated gaming tab in the app’s main navigation. On iOS, however, games are instead featured in a dedicated row. The games themselves are hosted on the platforms’ respective app stores, not on Netflix’s infrastructure, but they can only be played by Netflix users. After installation, the games will prompt users to authenticate with their Netflix account information to get started.
Netflix has been building out its gaming service since late last year, when the company debuted its initial lineup which had then included a couple of “Stranger Things”-themed titles and other casual titles. Since then, it has rapidly expanded its available offerings to include puzzle games, racing games, open-world strategy games, and more. The games themselves aren’t developed in-house at Netflix, but are provided by partners, which have included Frosty Pop, Rogue Games, and BonusXP. Sometimes they use older IP licensed from larger outfits, like Gameloft. To date, Netflix has launched a dozen titles, but it has so far yet to capitalize on its acquisition of Night School Studios, known best for narrative-driven games like Oxenfree.
The company explained to investors during its recent Q4 earnings call that these initial gaming launches are more about setting up Netflix to better understand what consumers want from the new service.
“It’s tremendously exciting to get to this point because we basically have been building the plumbing and all the technical infrastructure just to get to the point where we can do this, which is consistently launching games globally to all of our members,” said Netflix’s COO and Chief Product Officer Greg Peters during the call. “We’re now really getting to learn from all those games what are the discovery patterns, what are the engagement patterns, how are they performing, what do our members want from games on the service.”
The company, however, has yet to detail how well its games are performing, only saying that it has a “growing number” of both daily active and monthly active users on its gaming titles.
Netflix also hinted it’s open to licensing larger game IP that people will recognize in the future, noting that “I think you’ll see some of that happen over the year to come.”
By Sarah Perez