There’s a lot of talk about what service will be the “Netflix of games.” It turns out Netflix itself wants that title, but the company will need to put its games out individually to make them work on iPhone, which is far less intuitive than the Android release.
Netflix recently added games to its Android app, and it all works seamlessly. However, it’ll be a little more challenging on iPhone and iPad because Apple’s policy doesn’t allow all-in-one game hubs. Instead, if Netflix wants to make its mobile games work on Apple platforms, it’ll need to release them as separate applications.
This is the same issue preventing Xbox Cloud Gaming, Nvidia GeForce Now, and Google Stadia from working on iPhone. Those services offer their cloud games as web apps, which allows them to get around Apple’s restrictions.
According to Bloomberg tech reporter Mark Gurman in the new Power On newsletter (via The Verge), Netflix would need to get an exception from Apple to put its games on the Netflix app. Since that is unlikely, the company will need to release separate apps that you can launch from the main Netflix app.
“Apple will need to change its rules or grant Netflix an exemption,” says Gurman. “That leaves the ultimate success of Netflix’s service in the hands of Apple, a longtime partner but also a growing rival.”
Going this way will get the job done, but requiring users to download each app individually will create a far less streamlined experience. We’ll have to wait and see what Netflix and Apple can work out, but it seems likely we’ll need to get separate apps to play these games.