The Grand Theft Auto V packaging and Netflix logo are displayed on a phone screen in this photo taken in Krakow, Poland, on October 18, 2023.
Nurfoto | Getty Images
Netflix announced Wednesday that it will make three “Grand Theft Auto” titles available to subscribers next month.
Rockstar Games'Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition' launches on December 14th on the Apple App Store, Google Play and in the Netflix mobile app, the streaming media company said in a blog post. The release includes “Grand Theft Auto III – The Definitive Edition”,” “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – The Definitive Edition” and “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – The Definitive Edition.”
Subscribers won't need a controller to play the mobile release, like most of Netflix's 80-game library. Rockstar Games originally released “Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition” for consoles and PC platforms in November 2021.
The games are a big asset for Netflix, because mobile games lag behind other publishers in terms of downloads. According to data firm Statista, “Grand Theft Auto” is one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time, with more than 405 million copies sold worldwide.
This is not the first time that Netflix has acquired a big-name franchise. Netflix released “Sonic Prime Dash” for mobile platforms earlier this year. The title is based on Sega's “Sonic the Hedgehog,” the gaming company's best-selling franchise, according to Statista.
It's unclear whether licensing another popular franchise will lead to more subscribers downloading the games – or whether the releases will attract new Netflix subscribers.
“Netflix's addition of GTA is by far its most promising gaming launch and shows that Netflix is getting more serious about gaming,” said Insider Intelligence analyst Ross Benes. But the mobile platform can limit gameplay, he added.
“Playing 'Vice City' or 'San Andreas' on your phone is a cool feature for existing subscribers,” but don't expect new subscribers to sign up just to “get access to a game they're probably already familiar with, so they play it back in an inferior format.”
The company has started testing games on larger-screen devices, Netflix said in August. The beta test requires gamers to use their phone as a controller when playing on the TV.
It's been two years since Netflix announced its move into gaming, and the efforts have confounded Wall Street and industry experts alike. The streaming giant has maintained an outwardly rosy outlook for its gaming efforts, despite recent download data implying that less than 1% of subscribers were playing a Netflix game daily.
Netflix's gaming journey is no different from what the gaming company has seen as it launches other new initiatives, Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters said last month during the company's third-quarter earnings call.
“When we launched a new region – or when we launched new genres, like unscripted,” we had to “crawl, walk, run, but we see a huge amount of opportunity to build a center value of long-term entertainment,” Peters said.
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