Apple Complicates Netflix Gaming Push

    • Netflix is starting to produce its own video games as an additional offering for its subscribers at no extra charge.
    • Apple's App Store rules complicate the picture.

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Netflix’s gaming ambitions could be slowed by another tech giant: Apple.

The leading video streaming company has been developing games as a way to attract and retain customers, releasing titles for Android earlier this month. The games are offered free to the company’s subscribers, who numbered 213.6 million as of Sept. 30. 

However, Apple retained its right to keep other game stores out of its App Store in its court battle with Epic Games, preventing Netflix and others from offering an easy-to-use platform for mobile iOS users. 

Apple also doesn’t allow third parties to offer gaming platforms on its App Store, blocking products like Xbox Cloud Gaming, Nvidia GeForce Now, and Google Stadia from appearing in their fully realized form on iPhones and iPads.

  • The App Store generates $19 billion in annual revenue, most of which comes from its 30% developer fee on in-app purchases inside free-to-play games.
  • The number of iPhone users topped 1 billion in January, according to the company.
  • Apple has also been trying to move into Netflix’s domain, but lags far behind: Apple TV had under 20 million subscribers as of July.

Netflix plans to release games individually on the App Store, allowing users to launch, but not play them from the Netflix app.