Netflix is bringing “Heads Up!”, the charades game that originated on Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show, into the Upside Down — and into the worlds of the streamer’s other original shows.
The streamer is launching an exclusive version of the “Heads Up!” mobile game that will include 28 new decks from top Netflix series including “Stranger Things,” “Squid Game,” “Shadow and Bone,” “Bridgerton” and “Selling Sunset” as well as entertainment-themed decks in categories like rom-coms and true crime.
Netflix launched its version of “Heads Up!” on Tuesday. Netflix’s edition of the game is available in English and 13 additional languages on Android and iOS devices, available to streaming subscribers for no additional cost.
The game uses smartphones for a new spin on classic charades: Players pick a category, then hold their device up to their heads — with the screen facing outward — then try to guess the word or words on their phone from clues provided by the other participants.
“Heads Up!” was created by DeGeneres and developed by Ellen Digital Ventures in partnership with Gasket Games. Since its debut in 2013, “Heads Up!” has amassed more than 70 million downloads and more than 40 million users. It has been Apple’s top paid app in the App Store for the past five consecutive years.
With the addition of “Netflix Heads Up!”, the streamer’s games catalog is up to 27 mobile titles. The company expects to double that to more than 50 games by the end of the year.
Netflix offers the games as part its core video-streaming service, on the theory that the value-add will reduce churn.
Netflix kicked off its push into gaming last summer. Per a recent estimate by analytics firm Apptopia, Netflix’s games have been downloaded 23.3 million times and have an average of 1.7 million daily users. That means less than 1% of the streamer’s total global customer base is playing its games regularly; Netflix execs have acknowledged in public comments that it’s still early days on the games strategy.
In the past year, Netflix has acquired three game studios: Night School Studio, known for supernatural mystery adventure title “Oxenfree”; Next Games, a mobile games developer based in Finland, whose titles include “Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales” and two based on AMC’s TV series “The Walking Dead”; and Boss Fight Entertainment (“Dungeon Boss”).