Netflix games on iOS face an additional hurdle in Apple's App Store rules - report

Gaming on Netflix
Android users can already play the games, but iPhones users face a wait. Photo credit: Getty Images

Last week Netflix started rolling out its first mobile games to members on Android devices around the world while saying with iOS games were "on the way".

However, those waiting with their iPhones may face an additional hurdle before they can play the likes of Stranger Things: 1984 and Teeter Up - Apple's App Store rules, according to a report.

The global streaming service revealed earlier this year it was expanding to include games as part of its subscription offering, with users getting access for no additional cost.

The first five of those games were made available to Android users last week, with the company saying it wants to "build a library of games that offers something for everyone".

Currently, the Android games are loaded via a Games tab in the Netflix app, but are installed individually via the Google Play Store, like any other game or app.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who writes the Power On newsletter, says that's likely to change in the future for Android users, with the games moving to a similar approach to those of television and movies, where they can all be found and played within the app.

Long-term, however, that's likely to be how iOS users get to play the games given Apple's ban on 'all-in-one' games services on its platform.

"Netflix has been actively testing games on iOS, and - according to code discovered by developer Steve Moser and shared with Power On - Netflix will release all of its games on Apple's App Store individually and let users launch the games via the Netflix app," Gurman wrote.

"They won't all be downloadable and playable within the app itself."

Gurman said Apple's App Store rules prevent the likes of Xbox Cloud Gaming, Nvidia GeForce Now and Google Stadia from launching on iOS devices in "any meaningful way". 

"To be a true all-in-one service on iOS, Netflix will have to make its move to the cloud - and Apple will need to change its rules or grant Netflix an exemption," Gurman wrote.

"That leaves the ultimate success of Netflix's service in the hands of Apple, a long-time partner but also a growing rival."

The number and quality of games available will also have an impact on the success of the streaming service's new offering, but the company clearly has big aims.

"Just like our series, films and specials, we want to design games for any level of play and every kind of player, whether you're a beginner or a lifelong gamer," Mike Verdu, vice president of game development said.

To those ends, it purchased Night School, the developer of Oxenfree in September and has committed to more games being released.