Netflix has added a new wrinkle to its streaming library with the debut of an interactive storytelling component for two kid’s titles, Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile.
The feature, which borrows a page from the idea behind choose your own adventure books, adds interactive “branching” narrative episodes to the Netflix library, allowing viewers to control how stories unfold.
Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale launches globally today, and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile is set to arrive July 14. A third interactive episode, Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout, will launch on Netflix in 2018.
Netflix will support interactive storytelling on “many newer devices,” including smart TVs, several streaming players and gaming consoles, and iOS devices that use the latest version of the Netflix app. The Netflix website, Android devices, Chromecast and Apple TV boxes don’t support the new feature yet, and will fallback to a linear version of the episode that doesn’t let viewers choose the storyline.
Netflix is adding this interactive component following “extensive research,” with parents telling the OTT giant that they are keen to the idea of having their children have the ability to “make decisions and take a seat in the director’s chair, if you will,” Carla Engelbrecht Fisher, director of product innovation at Netflix, explained in this blog post, adding that, as an internet company, Netflix has the ability to scale this capability to millions.
Netflix will also keep track of how interactive storytelling resonates with viewers and if it compels them to re-watch episodes in order to uncover all of the various storylines.
Engelbrecht Fisher added that children’s programing offered a “natural place” to start the interactive project, as kids are already eager to “tap, touch and swipe at screens.”
Watch this promotional video about the new feature: