Continuing to build out its inexplicable gaming roster, Netflix has announced that has expanded its lineup of free mobile offerings with two new games: Bowling Ballers and a rebooted version of Asphalt Extreme.
The rollout of two new games, which are both available as free downloads on iOS and Android for anyone with a Netflix subscription, comes less than a month after the platform launched its gaming initiative in earnest.
The initial rollout included two titles pegged to the streamer’s original content, with Stranger Things: 1984 and Stranger Things 3: The Game, in addition to Card Blast, Teeter, and Shooting Hoops, which are not pegged to anything at all. The last of those three, Teeter and Shooting Hoops, come from the gaming studio Frosty Pop, which is also the studio that partnered with Netflix on Bowling Ballers.
Asphalt Extreme, meanwhile, was snapped up by the platform after it was shut down by its original developer, Gameloft, back in September. A trailer posted to Netflix’s YouTube account shows that the rebooted game, like the original, will be an off-road racing game, with players getting to choose from a variety of vehicles and seemingly exotic locales to speed through.
Both of the new games will join Netflix’s existing roster as ad-free offerings that don’t allow for any in-app purchases. As we’ve previously mentioned, it’s not that any of the platform’s new games are bad—the cutesy 8-bit RPG Stranger Things: 1984 is particularly playable—it’s just that the strategy to expand into the gaming sphere is a bit of a head-scratcher for the platform, because Netflix has no plans to profit from the games directly.
While Netflix hasn’t been overly forthcoming about why it sees games as a particularly exciting avenue to explore in recent months, it has quietly suggested that the games exist as a way to draw in new paying subscriber and appeal to its existing base with new, non-traditional entertainment offerings.
Will Bowling Ballers be enough to set Netflix apart in the coming years as Disney+ continues to circle the wagons? Only time will tell. But at least Netflix subscribers will have a couple of new mindless options to play while seeking refuge from their relatives on Thanksgiving, so at least there’s that.