Netflix now selling ‘Stranger Things’ game that was previously free

Netflix has launched its gaming offering for Android users worldwide. However, two of the “new” games are old acquaintances. One of them was even previously available for free – and now only with a Netflix subscription.

In an effort to expand further, Netflix is working on building a gaming division. In recent months, there have been increasing hints that a launch of a gaming offering directly in the Netflix app is imminent. Now, the streaming provider has unveiled the first five titles.

Netflix packages old games as a new gaming offer

It had been clear for some time that Netflix was planning to venture into the gaming sector. Back in 2017, the company had a companion game to the Netflix series “Stranger Things” developed by Studio BonusXP. In 2019, the sequel hit the market. But it wasn’t until 2021 that Netflix took its first big steps to push the expansion of gaming:

We view games as another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original movies, animation and unscripted television. Games are included in members’ Netflix subscriptions at no additional cost, similar to movies and series. Initially, we will focus mainly on games for mobile devices.

Source: Netflix in a letter to investors, July 20, 2021.

Then, in September 2021, Netflix bought the developer studio Night School Studios, which published the indie hit “Oxenfree,” among others. Around the same time, in August, a test phase also started in Poland, which allowed subscribers to launch a selection of five games directly from the Netflix app on Android.

Now, just under two months later, Netflix is launching this gaming offering for Android users worldwide. What the company is hiding, however, is that two of the five games already existed before – and without a Netflix subscription.

That’s because the two games, “Stranger Things 3: The Game” and “Stranger Things: 1984 ,” are nothing more than re-releases of existing “Stranger Things” titles. “Stranger Things 3: The Game” is completely unchanged in this regard. For the original “Stranger Things: The Game,” Netflix at least changed the name to “1984.”

Netflix launches gaming offering
There are now five Netflix games in the Google Play Store Photo: atechbook

Netflix charges money for previously free game

The games are now only available with a Netflix subscription. You can find them in the Netflix app, but it only links to the Google Play Store. Downloading directly from the Play Store is also possible – without the detour via the app. However, it is necessary to have the Netflix app installed to start the games, because you have to select the profile you want to start with. By the way, children’s profiles are not allowed for the games.

Dass nun ein Abo für die beiden “Stranger Things”-Spiele erforderlich ist, hinterlässt einen bitteren Beigeschmack. Denn “Stranger Things: 1984 ” hat Netflix ursprünglich komplett kostenfrei und ohne Bindung angeboten. Und “Stranger Things 3: The Game” kostete zwar Geld, war aber auch ohne den Netflix-Zwang spielbar. atechbook hat bei Netflix anfragt und um eine Stellungnahme gebeten, bislang aber keine Antwort erhalten.

Netflix launches gaming offering
Netflix hat das originale Stranger-Things-Spiel von 2017 einfach in “Stranger Things: 1984 ” umbenannt und unter seinem eigenen Account veröffentlicht. Photo: atechbook

Both titles were originally available under BonusXP’s developer account in the Google Play Store. Now they are assigned to the account of Netflix itself. However, those who have already downloaded the games once before the launch of the Netflix gaming offer can still find them in the library and play them without a subscription.

Also interesting: is Netflix hiding a particular movie from users?

At launch, there are 5 games in the Netflix app

Back on November 1, Netflix uploaded five games to the Google Play Store, which are now accessible via the Netflix app:

Stranger Things: 1984

Das Spiel ist ursprünglich 2017 für iOS und Android unter dem Namen “Stranger Things: The Game” erschienen. Netflix hat es aber für den Launch des In-App-Gaming-Angebotes neu veröffentlicht und in “Stranger Things: 1984 ” umbenannt. Der Name ist Programm, denn das Spiel ist im Jahr 1984 angesiedelt, in dem die Netflix-Serie bekanntlich spielt. Der Look ist zeitgemäß in Pixel-Grafik gehalten. Spieler erkunden mit Detective Hopper und den Kindern den Ort Hawkins aus der Serie. Sie müssen dabei Missionen erfüllen, Rätsel lösen, Gegner besiegen und dabei Objekte einsammeln.

Stranger Things 3: The Game

The sequel to the first game in the series has been released as a companion to the third season of Stranger Things in 2019. Unlike its predecessor, it has not been free to play – instead, it was available for PC and console, in addition to Android and iOS. However, Netflix withdrew the game from the platforms in mid-2021. Now it is exclusively playable in the Google Play Store and only together with a Netflix subscription.

“Stranger Things 3: The Game” retains the same pixel graphics as its predecessor, but now has twelve playable characters. Players can enter the shadow world alone or in co-op and reenact scenes from the series. There are also new missions, situations and secrets to discover.

Shooting Hoops

Players must shoot a ball with a dart gun to get it into a basket in “Shooting Hoops.” In the process, players can collect power-ups and unlock new balls that have different weights and handling.

Card Blast

In this poker-based game, you have to pick up cards from a treadmill and combine them into hands to score points. To do this, there are three rows that can be filled. If you don’t pick up the cards fast enough, the treadmill will send them straight to the shredder. Boosts like freeze, nuke or rocket allow players to achieve higher scores. While playing alone, there are events where you compete to get the highest score.

Rocking

In “Rocking” soll ein Ball, der auf einer Plattform liegt, an seinem Ziel ankommen. Der Clou: man muss die Plattformen mit den eigenen Fingern balancieren, damit der Ball nicht herunterfällt. Je höher das Level, desto mehr Hindernisse erscheinen, in die der Ball nicht fallen darf. Außerdem erscheinen Gewichte auf der Plattform, die das Balancieren schwieriger machen.

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