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Netflix’s new virtual game controller iOS app hints at TV gaming

Netflix’s new virtual game controller iOS app hints at TV gaming


Netflix released an iOS gaming controller app designed for players to game on a TV screen, but it’s not doing anything yet.

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screenshot of the App Store listing of Netflix Game Controller, showing a screenshot of the app with a digital joystick and four buttons.
Netflix game controller App Store listing on iPad.
Screenshot by Umar Shakir / The Verge

Netflix has launched a mysterious new gaming controller app for iOS on the App Store, as reported by TechCrunch. The free app, simply called “Netflix Game Controller,” can be downloaded now and says you can “connect to your TV to play” but doesn’t yet have a listed compatible game.

The app’s description says that you’ll be able to use it to play Netflix games on your TV. “Coming soon to Netflix,” the description says. “Play games on your TV with the Netflix Game Controller. This Game Controller app pairs with your TV and allows you to play games on Netflix using your phone or mobile device.”

If you download and launch the app, it asks you to choose a game on your TV and follow directions to connect, which currently does not do anything. The app’s splash screen also points out that “Netflix Games on TV are in beta” and that “some devices may not be supported at this time.”

screenshot of the Netflix remote app, says games on tv is in beta and to choose a game on your tv and follow directions.
That’s it. That’s what it does.
Screenshot: Umar Shakir / The Verge

Netflix has been on a roll in releasing new games its subscribers can play on their phones — in just the past few months, Netflix has launched games like Laya’s Horizon, World of Goo Remastered, and the spooky Oxenfree II: Lost Signals — so it makes sense that it would try and get them working on the same big screen its subscribers use to watch movies and shows.

Netflix hasn’t exactly been shy about hinting in the direction of games on TV. Netflix’s VP of external games, Leanne Loombe, said earlier this year that Netflix wants to make its games “playable on every Netflix device that you have.” Loombe also confirmed that work on a Netflix cloud gaming service was “underway” following Netflix VP of games Mike Verdu’s October announcement that the company is “seriously exploring” starting one — that cloud gaming service could theoretically be a way to play Netflix games on your TV.

Netflix spokesperson Chrissy Kelleher declined to comment to The Verge. At the moment, the game controller app is not available in the Google Play Store.