"Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition" will arrive on the platform Dec. 14 for Netflix subscribers on the App Store, Google Play, and in the Netflix mobile app. Fans can preregister beginning on Wednesday.
The trilogy adds to Netflix's growing catalog of more than 80 mobile games, with more expected. Netflix shares traded flat on the news.
"Games is a huge entertainment opportunity," Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters said on the company's earnings call last month. "We're talking about $140 billion worth of consumer spend on games outside of China and outside of Russia. And from a strategic perspective, we believe that we can build games into a strong content category, leveraging our current core film and series by connecting members, especially members that are fans of specific IPs, with games that they will love."
Peters said Netflix has the ability to "cost-effectively acquire new players," which can then be leveraged back into the core streaming business.
"We increase engagement. We increase retention. We increase value delivered. Those all drive our core business metrics," he added.
The "Grand Theft Auto" series is one of the most iconic titles in gaming. Publisher Take-Two Interactive said the franchise, which includes "Grand Theft Auto III," "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City," Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," "Grand Theft Auto IV," and "Grand Theft Auto V," has sold more than 410 million units as of the company's latest earnings report.
The latest game, "Grand Theft Auto V," was the fastest retail property to reach $1 billion in sales. "Grand Theft Auto Online," an offshoot of "Grand Theft Auto V," continues to generate millions of dollars for the publisher.
The announcement comes as Take-Two prepares for the release of the first trailer for the highly anticipated "Grand Theft Auto VI" in December. The full game is expected to hit stores sometime in 2024.
Meanwhile, adding a title like "Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy" to its games collection should prove to be a boon for Netflix's gaming platform. But it's going up against stiff competition. Microsoft, which acquired Activision Blizzard for $69 billion earlier this year, is now a force to be reckoned with in the mobile gaming industry thanks to the addition of Activision's King mobile brand, which makes the popular "Candy Crush Sage" collection of games.
Microsoft's ultimate goal is to make its cloud-based Xbox Cloud Gaming platform available on mobile devices, serving as a one-stop shop for gamers who want to get access to high-end titles without having to purchase pricey consoles or PCs.
Apple is also an enormous force in the mobile gaming industry thanks to its App Store. While the company doesn't break out individual numbers for the business, gaming is widely understood to be its most successful segment.
For Netflix to succeed as a true gaming option, it will need to add far more titles to its library.
The game is on.