Netflix Games: App Store Spotlight

December 17, 2021

Netflix Games: App Store Spotlight

App Store Optimization for Mobile Games

Just over a month ago, Netflix broke into the gaming industry on both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store. On the Google Play Store, Netflix was able to provide a mobile gaming hub service for Android users. Due to Apple’s policies however, they needed to try a different approach on the iOS App Store.

Apple's policies specifically forbid third-party apps from functioning as gaming hubs. This has been a point of contention in the ongoing antitrust investigations surrounding the Cupertino tech Giant. Netflix chose to release their games to the App Store itself, instead of offering games through a web app like other prominent cloud gaming services. Now that Apple’s algorithm has had over a month to index Netflix's mobile games, let's take a look at how they have performed on the iOS App Store.

Asphalt Xtreme

Asphalt Xtreme is one of the highest rated games that Netflix released, sitting at a 4.8 star rating. While it hasn't achieved any significant ranking in its category, this off-road racing game has been well-received by most users. The front-facing metadata is on the brief side, and could definitely use an improvement in keyword inclusion. The title “Asphalt Xtreme” is only 14 characters out of 30, and the subtitle “Off-road Racing” is only 15 characters out of 30. This leaves over half of the available characters unused, and thus a wealth of untapped keyword potential that could help this game get discovered by more users.

The app description is only 1,149 characters out of 4,000 available, and while it communicates the features briefly, there is a lack of compelling introduction and value propositioning. The screenshots contain high-quality in-app images, but lack any type of screenshot copy on the iPhone, and have very little, repetitive copy on the iPad. Behind the scenes, Netflix’s game is ranking for 57 keywords and phrases, with only eight ranking in the top 10, and only 30 are highly searched terms. While Asphalt Xtreme has been highly rated by the users who have discovered it, this lack of keyword footprint could prevent the game from finding even more happy players.

Bowling Ballers

Also ranking 4.8 out of five stars is Netflix's endless runner game: Bowling Ballers. In this game you play as a bowling ball, and instead of avoiding obstacles like in most runners, your goal is to knock down as many as possible. The game’s title does not contain any title tags, and the subtitle “Attention all pinheads”, while catchy, does not include any notable keywords. With 23 characters left over in these two fields, there ample room to include some heavy hitting keywords. Bowling Ballers’ description is even more scant at only 393 characters out of 4,000, with no real features list or value propositions – only three brief sentences. Bowling Ballers has a slightly better keyword footprint, ranking for 124 keywords and phrases, with 20 terms ranking in the top 10 and 65 being popular queries.

Card Blast!

Card Blast! is Netflix's puzzle card game, where users must combine their problem solving skills with luck. Standing at 3.2 stars and only 24 ratings indicates that this app may not be getting discovered by new users, despite ranking number 193 in the Card Game category. The title does not contain any title tags, which leaves it sitting at only 11 characters out of 30, and the 16-character subtitle “Fast-Paced Cards” can be improved with the right keywords. Similar to Netflix's other titles, the description is rather lacking, with only a few sentences that vaguely describe the gameplay. The screenshots show gameplay imagery however, without any copy, it is difficult to discern what how the game actually functions. Card Blast! ranks for 68 phrases and keywords, but none of these are ranking in the top 10, and only 39 are frequently searched.

Dominoes Café

Dominoes Café is a fairly straightforward game that allows users to play classic dominoes in a multiplayer setting. This app has only been rated by five users, and with so few users having encountered this app, this indicates that there are visibility issues. The title and subtitle do have two relevant keywords, “Dominoes” and “game”, but there's still room to improve keyword representation, as the additional words do not contribute to relevant phrases. Dominoes Café has a very small keyword footprint, ranking for only 60 keywords, with none ranking in the top 10, and only 34 highly searched terms.

Shooting Hoops

Netflix’s hyper casual physics game has been fairly well received by users, with 4.3 stars and a rank of #137 in the Sports Game category. The title and subtitle don't contain many relevant keywords, with no title tags following the branded “Shooting Hoops” and the keyword bare subtitle “Nothing but net”. The screenshots are vague and do not communicate the gameplay very well, highlighting the need for screenshot text to explain the game's mechanics. Unfortunately there is not much more information to find in the description, with only a short bullet list of features following a brief sentence. Shooting Hoops ranks for 80 keywords and phrases, with only five of them ranking in the top 10, and only 45 being popular search terms.

Stranger Things

Finally, what may have been the most anticipated Netflix games, with the kind of mixed reception that can only come from a cult classic, are Stranger Things 3 The Game and Stranger Things: 1984. Both of these games are rated 3.9 stars with less than 100 ratings for each.

Stranger Things 3 The Game has very little room to incorporate a title tag, but the subtitle “Relive Stranger Things 3” is rather repetitive. This is detrimental to the keyword footprint, as duplication does not drive ranking. The description is less than 800 characters, but it does a decent job communicating the game's features. The game’s screenshots, while showing high-quality in-game images, also do not contain any text, which would be helpful in understanding what these different levels entail. Stranger Things 3 The Game is ranking for 84 keywords, with six of them ranking in the top 10 and 47 highly searched terms.

Stranger Things: 1984 suffers from many of the same missed keyword opportunities as Netflix's other games. Where they went right was including “adventure” in the subtitle “An 80s-inspired adventure”, which contributes to phrases surrounding adventure games. Stranger Things: 1984 ranks #129 in the Adventure Game category. The description is a single feature list just over 700 characters long, and just like Netflix's other Stranger Things title, the screenshots are beautiful in-game art with no descriptive text. Stranger Things: 1984 is ranking for 91 keywords and phrases, with eight of them ranked in the top 10 and 47 popular search terms.

Overall

Netflix released a series of games on the iOS App Store exclusive to Netflix members. While they are still new in the App Store, without incorporating relevant keywords in the proper structure they will struggle with being seen by new users. With the right ASO tools, Netflix can increase visibility for their games without needing to rely on an all-in-one gaming hub like on the Google Play Store. With a little keyword research and an understanding of ASO best practices, Netflix could make a name for themselves in mobile gaming.

Want to learn more about App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.