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Sling TV now lets customers play free arcade games while watching live TV content

DISH-owned streaming service Sling TV announced today the launch of its new gaming platform called “Arcade,” featuring classic arcade games like Tetris, Wheel of Fortune, Sweet Sugar, Solitaire Clash, Poker Online and Doodle Jump, among others.

Notably, the experience is free for Sling TV and Sling Freestream customers, and they can play games on a split-screen while simultaneously watching live TV content — providing entertainment during commercial breaks. Sling TV also allows users to expand to full screen to have a more immersive playing experience. Meanwhile, Netflix’s and YouTube’s gaming offerings are only for paid subscribers.

Sling TV says that 10 games will be available at launch. New titles are to be added every few months, including Astroids and other titles, a company spokesperson told TechCrunch. Sling will also introduce new games before big events like football season.

The current game selection is thanks to Sling’s partnership with Play.Works, a connected-TV games provider that distributes games on more than 200 million televisions, and has teamed up with various major TV companies like Comcast, Cox, Samsung, Vizio and more. Sling didn’t say if it would partner with other gaming companies to expand its gaming library, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it did. There's also a possibility that Sling acquires independent studios and developers. When Netflix launched games in 2021, the streaming giant went on a buying spree as part of its gaming push, acquiring six companies to help build out its collection of titles.

"We are exploring all possibilities to bring our customers the broadest game catalog and the best gaming experience possible," the spokesperson told us.

Arcade is currently only on Amazon Fire TV and Android TV. Sling is adding support for more devices in the next month, including most smart TVs. However, the spokesperson said the company couldn't share a specific date for when it'll be available for Apple TV and Roku.

In recent years, Sling has struggled to keep subscribers, but Arcade could set the streamer apart from competitors as it offers unique and interactive entertainment for users. Dish, which recently merged with EchoStar, reported a loss of 65,000 Sling TV subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2023, bringing the total to 2.06 million. It lost 77,000 subs in the same period a year prior.

“Sling is now more than just TV,” Gary Schanman, group president of DISH Video Services, said in an official statement. “We want people to enjoy their entertainment just as much as we do. The new Arcade offering combines some great classic games with our great TV programming. No other streaming platform gives you access to more entertainment options for free."

Updated 3/7/24 at 12:10 p.m. ET with comments from the company.