Netflix Games are here and while we’re yet to see the full potential, amongst its first selection of titles includes three from indie developer Frosty Pop. We spoke to Faisal Sethi, founder and CEO of Frosty Pop about the new games available right now on Netflix.
Netflix’s first collection of games rolled out onto Netflix on November 1st on Android before rolling out another game and onto iOS on November 10th, 2021. Six games are available at the time of publishing with 50% of them being developed by Frosty Pop.
The three games are notably not based on Netflix Original titles but instead original arcade-type games most with a minimalist art style and simplistic gameplay loops. All three are available on both iOS and Android and have received hundreds of thousands of downloads on Google Play as of the time of publishing.
Frosty Pop was also among the first set of developers for Apple’s similar venture into games, the Apple Arcade. They released five games onto that service last September. Apple Arcade gives you similar benefits to Netflix games whereby you get unlimited access to games that don’t have microtransactions or ads. Unlike Netflix, however, Apple Arcade is a separate subscription to Apple TV+ and is only available on Apple devices.
Below you can see our short conversation with Faisal Sethi where we talked about the reaction and how they came about to be part of Netflix’s first foray into games.
What’s on Netflix: Can you tell us a little bit about Frosty Pop? Where are you based?
Frosty Pop is a small studio with headquarters located in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. We’ve been fully remote since our inception in 2014, with people working in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and France.
You’re among the first wave of developers to debut as part of Netflix’s expansion into gaming – can you talk about how that relationship came about?
Happenstance for the most part. Netflix was speaking to another company and asked if they had any contacts at Frosty Pop. I happen to know one of the founders at said company, and so the journey begins.
Use to get Netflix DVDs in the mail. https://t.co/lZCgBOoEIA
— Faisal Sethi (@faisalsethi) November 9, 2021
Can you talk about the three games a little? How many people worked on each respective game? How long did each take to develop?
Teeter (Up) is a game loosely based on an analogue game of balance you’d find at a state fair or a dingy bowling alley. The objective of the game is to balance a metallic ball on a bar and navigate it into a hole.
Shooting Hoops is a simple, one-button experience that involves the idea of strapping a Nerf gun to a Nerf basketball. The object of the game is the get the ball into the basket by “shooting the gun” thus propelling the ball in the opposite direction of the gun barrel.
In a primary genre context, Bowling Ballers is an endless runner, but instead of avoiding obstacles, for the most part, you are trying to actively hit them (pins).
Each game was made of a with a core team of between 3 – 5 people and took between, on and off, 6 months to almost two years.
Which game is your favorite so far?
Teeter (Up) I think is the cleverest of the bunch, and Bowling Ballers is my favorite. It has so many tiny flourishes we agonized over. That makes it one of the most vibrant games we’ve ever made.
What’s the response been so far?
Positive, for the most part. We try not to pay too much attention to the pundits. I think Bowling Ballers is sitting with an average 4.7 / 5-star rating on the Google Play store. And this is just the beginning.
What’s the allure of working with Netflix on these three projects as opposed to self-publishing?
It’s Netflix– they have an impeccable reputation for creating compelling content, and this is (arguably) a once-in-a-generation platform launch opportunity.
Were there any major challenges to working on these games?
Making games, never mind great games, is always challenging.
Long-term – what do you think we’ll get to see from Netflix’s continued gaming expansion? More studios on board, type of games, platforms, etc.
I can’t say for certain. If you look at the trajectory of their film and television offerings, I think you might be able to get a good sense of their overall content strategy: Create an amazing library of content that has something for everyone to enjoy.
What is Frosty Pop currently working on next? Any future Netflix games in the works?
As one of my superiors use to say, “Loose lips sink ships.”