Grand Theft Auto might be coming to Netflix Games – but there's a catch

Netflix games library promo image
(Image credit: Netflix)

In case you didn't already realise, Netflix has a gaming arm to its super-popular streaming platform. It comes as a surprise to many considering the fact that the world's most popular streaming service is more typically associated with TV shows and movies, but there have been multiple attempts on behalf of the market giant to muscle in on the lucrative world of gaming via its "Netflix Games" sub-platform. 

Those efforts, clearly, are being stepped up a notch. According to reports from the WSJ, Netflix is attempting to expand its gaming division with the acquisition of the Grand Theft Auto license in order to produce its own GTA title through Netflix Games and bolster what is currently a rather patchy roster of indie titles.

This would certainly indicate Netflix's intentions to make it big in what is the most profitable market in entertainment, but it should be remembered that Netflix Games is available as a mobile platform only, meaning the idea of downloading and/or streaming AAA titles from the platform by hooking up a compatible controller and adequate TV or monitor (see the now-defunct Google Stadia) are a long way off. If GTA were to arrive on Netflix Games, it would likely be as a separate, standalone and, crucially, mobile title published via a Take-Two Interactive license.  

Netflix games logo

(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix is clearly desperate for a piece of the gaming action, but recent attempts have proven somewhat unsuccessful. The streaming service's gaming library isn't so tiny as to be inconsequential, but it's lacking in exclusivity and, worse still, awareness. According to Apptopia via IGN, fewer than 1 per cent of Netflix subscribers play its games on a daily basis. 

We're still big fans of the most popular streaming service in town, awarding Netflix the full five stars when we initially reviewed it and praising the platform's vast catalogue of eclectic movies, TV shows and exclusive original content. We didn't consider gaming to be central to that success, however, as we, like most others, believed it to be a peripheral bonus rather than a core reason for subscribing in the first place. 

That might change with the "acquisition" of the Grand Theft Auto license, but it will take a lot more than a mobile version of GTA to make Netflix a real force in the gaming world – a world, incidentally, in which multi-billion dollar acquisitions of super-publishers (see Microsoft's takeover of Activision Blizzard) are becoming the norm.

If Netflix wants to make Netflix Games a viable option, it will need to fork out a lot more cash to grow its library. In that sense, GTA might only be the beginning...


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Harry McKerrell
Staff writer

Harry McKerrell is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. During his time at the publication, he has written countless news stories alongside features, advice and reviews of products ranging from floorstanding speakers and music streamers to over-ear headphones, wireless earbuds and portable DACs. He has covered launches from hi-fi and consumer tech brands, and major industry events including IFA, High End Munich and, of course, the Bristol Hi-Fi Show. When not at work he can be found playing hockey, practising the piano or trying to pet strangers' dogs.