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Netflix is done with the interactive show format

There's no alternate path to avoid this ending.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

January 16, 2024

1 Min Read
Promo image for Netflix's Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.
Image via Netflix.

At a Glance

  • Netflix is leaving its interactive specials behind as it tries to figure out how to fill a niche in the crowded games market.

Netflix's dalliance with interactive shows at an end. In his recent Game File newsletter, Stephen Totilo reveals the streamer has done away with the concept to pivot to other avenues of video games.

"We're not building those specific experiences anymore," explained Netflix Games head Mike Verdu in December. To him, the concept set a ceiling on what was possible, not helped by its "very limiting" technology.

The most famous interactive show is Black Mirror's Bandersnatch. Released in 2019, it was modeled in a choose-your-own adventure format and loosely based on a previously canceled game.

Overall, Netflix has over a dozen playable specials, some based on its original shows.

Netflix' next steps

Verdu added how Netflix "learned a ton" from Bandersnatch and others that followed. The streamer has now reached a "spiritual evolution" by pivoting to "interactive narrative games."

These titles aim to make viewers "feel like you're playing the show." But at the moment, they're based on their more international or reality-oriented shows like Money Heist and Too Hot to Handle.

Earlier this month, it was reported Netflix was exploring ways to bring more eyes and revenue towards its games service. In-game ads and purchasable games were considered, along with in-app purchases.

Netflix is also developing a game spinoff for its popular K-drama Squid Game. That project is aiming for a 2024 release, but it's unclear if it's treated as a tie-in game or something bigger.

Beyond that, the streamer will continue to port over previously released games to its service like Hades and Dead Cells.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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