It’s no secret that Netflix is one of the world’s most popular services for streaming movies and TV shows, and now they’re branching off into gaming.  Well, kind of.  Later this year, subscribers will be able to explore the world through a new Minecraft “game”.  But is it really a game?  According to Netflix, they aren’t getting into gaming, but rather this is an “interactive story”. Netflix has gone on the record and indicated the following:

“We don’t have any plans to get into gaming.  There’s a broad spectrum of entertainment available today. Games have become increasingly cinematic, but we view this as interactive narrative storytelling on our service.”

Huh?  We’re splitting hairs on what a game is?  I mean, I can kind of understand what they’re getting at, as you won’t be able to “play” the game, but rather you’re using the Netflix remote.  That, in itself, will make the gaming aspect difficult, but I think it’s a stretch to say it’s not a game.  In fact, games are interactive stories.  It’s a choose your own adventure type scenario, so perhaps that’s why the creators of Minecraft don’t see it as a game?

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What might be even more interesting to me is that Netflix isn’t interested in adding games to their streaming service.  Some might argue that this is for the best, but I disagree.  I think now is the perfect time for Netflix to start dabbling in this area.  But when I say gaming, I’m not sure that interactive stories is the way to do it.  Or maybe it is if they’re looking to target a specific audience?  The whole idea of Netflix getting into gaming, though, could be really good.  They’re already hugely successful when it comes to streaming TV and movies and even creating their own original content, so why wouldn’t they want to get into it?

Think about the kinds of games that they could produce.  Stranger Things is one of their wildly popular series, and it could definitely lend itself to the gaming industry.  So why not start there?  Why not take some of that original content and attempt to build a bigger market for it?  That said, Netflix would need to evolve, big time, in order to make games.  I’m not saying that this is an overnight kind of project, but I do think that there might be something to this idea.

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How does Netflix differentiate between a game and an interactive story?

“Interactive content is a fun new way to experience Netflix. In each interactive title, you can make choices for the characters, shaping the story as you go! Each choice leads to a different adventure, so you can watch again and again, and see a new story each time.”

Like I said, it’s a choose your own adventure, but I think Netflix is grasping at straws with this not being a game.  It’s not scripted, which means you have control over it.  While I’m not saying it’s Super Smash Bros., it feels like a game. And as they say – if it walks like a duck…