Netflix games have now been downloaded over 82m times across iOS and Android, according to Appmagic data.
Of the 80ish games available on the platform to date, Netflix’s biggest hit so far is its Too Hot To Handle tie-in, with just over 7.6m installs. The full top twenty downloads, according to Appmagic, are in full below, with release dates for context (naturally the newer titles have not had as long to generate installs).
It’s been nearly two years since Netflix announced it is moving into mobile games, and it has been on a high-profile acquisition and hiring spree ever since, buying up Next Games, Boss Fight, Night School and Spry Fox as well as recruiting a ton of top talent.
It tapped up ex-Zynga and EA exec Marko Lastikka to form a studio called Moonloot Games in Helsinki, and in LA, there’s a new studio codenamed Blue, led by former Overwatch lead Chacko Sonny.
But how are its live games performing right now? Here are the top twenty downloads to date according to Appmagic, with commentary on some of the notable trends, hits and misses below.
Netflix has leaned into romance games lately with the launch of its ‘Netflix Stories’ brand, and you can see why: Too Hot to Handle is top despite being under a year old, and its sequel, released in June, is in 12th already. It’s notable too that Scriptic and Twelve Minutes, both narrative-driven games, are in the top ten. Netflix players clearly like a good yarn.
Tilting Point’s SpongeBob: Get Cooking, a reworking of its free to play game Krusty Cook-Off, has hit 7m downloads just over a year after release. And like many others in this top 20 it shows the power of IP for what we can assume is a very mainstream, non-‘gamer’ audience.
Naturally the two Stranger Things games have done relatively well as they were among the first titles to arrive on the service and they have that mega IP attached. Asphalt Xtreme, too, is a fairly well-known racing IP and was among the first games to go live within Netflix.
Ninja Kiwi’s Bloons TD 6, a tower defence game, is in fifth and perhaps higher than one might expect. It is also on Apple Arcade, and is consistently in Apple’s ‘top Arcade games’ list too. (Incidentally: fellow tower defence game maker Ironhide has a whopping five games on Arcade, all variations on the same tower defence template. Is there something about the TD genre that really resonates within mobile subscription services?)
In ninth, Frosty Pop’s Teeter Up is the top original game without a brand or existing franchise attached. Again it will have been boosted by being among the first games to be released for the service alongside fellow Frosty Pop games Bowling Ballers in 11th and Shooting Hoops in 18th.
Exploding Kittens completes the top ten, a popular board game and party game that ticks the social gaming box in Netflix’s portfolio.
In amongst the more casual fare in the 11-20 bracket, Tribute/DotEmu’s retro beat ‘em up TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is one of few ‘gamery’ games in the top rankings.
The rest are mostly reworkings of mobile games previously available on the ‘regular’ app stores. Evergreen choice Solitaire represents in the top 20 too, made by classic game specialist MobilityWare.
There are some notable games outside the top 20. Devolver-published god sim Terra Nil arrived in March and has 1.2m installs to date, a relatively good start.
Ubisoft’s new Valiant Hearts game and indie darling Into The Breach each have around 900k downloads, while Sonic Prime Dash (released in July) and Netflix-exclusive Reigns: Three Kingdoms (released in November 2022) are floating around the 700k mark.
Some more recent releases are making their way up the rankings too. Cut The Rope Daily, released in July, has made a good start with around 500k downloads to date, and Netflix Stories: Love Is Blind is close to 400k downloads after only a couple of weeks of release.
There are, however, several titles with big IPs or from well-known studios that seem to have struggled. Tomb Raider Reloaded has only generated around 300k downloads since launch in February, and indie deep cuts Poinpy, Lucky Luna, and Laya’s Horizon have dome similar numbers.
The Queen’s Gambit Chess, despite being a TV tie-in, has only registered around 240k installs; Monument Valley maker Ustwo Games’ Desta: The Memories Between has around 165k downloads, while Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon and Oxenfree II have under 160k installs. Ubisoft’s Mighty Quest Rogue Palace has fared even worse, with under 70k downloads to date.
Netflix will tell you it is still feeling out what its players want from its service, and judging by the numbers here, some of the indie deep cuts it has released are certainly credible, but aren’t resonating with players.
Like Apple Arcade, it’s likely Netflix will now be focusing on the stuff that works – interactive narrative, family games, classics like Solitaire – and less so the stuff designed to get developer cred as its offering evolves.