Netflix is planning to expand its interactive TV initiative beyond children’s content, according to Bloomberg. The service is developing “a slate of specials”, including an episode of Black Mirror and movies.
Bloomberg’s sources say that Netflix is planning to release a season 5 episode of Black Mirror that will let the viewer choose the storyline. The fifth season is expected to premiere in December.
The company is “developing a slate of specials that will let viewers choose the next storyline in a TV episode or movie”, Bloomberg reported, adding that “two of the projects are adaptations of video games”. This will include the Minecraft interactive TV series that Netflix has developed together with now-defunct game studio Telltale Games. It will reportedly be released later this year. No other titles were confirmed.
Netflix’s foray into interactive TV, which is a mix between a game and video, started in June 2017 with Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale. It was followed by Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile in July and Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout, created in collaboration with Dreamworks, in March 2018. All of these are children’s shows.
The company’s efforts to make interactive TV shows available to viewers has seemingly been hindered by technical challenges. At launch in 2017, only select devices such as Smart TVs, game consoles, and Apple iOS were supported.
Support for Android mobile devices was added later but these devices currently support only the latest Stretch Armstrong title. The company has not commented on the technical challenges faced. Support for two of the most popular TV platforms is still missing. Content can still be enjoyed on these devices but it will not be interactive.
- “Chromecasts and Apple TVs do not support interactive content at this time,” Netflix said.
If Netflix wants interactive TV to take off it will need wider support. It appears that the company is dedicated in its efforts so we suspect that with more content comes better technical support. If Bloomberg’s report is accurate, we can expect an official announcement within a month or two.