Netflix has officially released its first interactive, choose-your-own-adventure style show with DreamWorks’ “Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale.” But it won’t work with a handful of popular devices.
Netflix said its new interactive shows work with smart TVs, streaming media players, game consoles and iOS devices running the latest version of the Netflix app. But as of now, the shows won’t work on the Netflix website, Android devices, Chromecast and Apple TV.
Devices that don’t support the new content will fall back to traditional linear streams if viewers use them to access the interactive content.
The first show, “Puss in Book” is available now. “Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile” will be available July 14, 2017, and “Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout” is coming in 2018.
Netflix said that children’s entertainment was a logical starting point for this new format since children are more eager to interact with what’s on their screens.
“We’ve done extensive research and talked to lots of kids and parents, collecting qualitative data to better understand if this is something viewers will like. While we’ve gotten positive feedback (for example, parents like the fact their child has the ability to make decisions and take a seat in the director’s chair, if you will), we’re eager to learn how our members will engage with the experience. Which choices or storylines will be the most popular? Will the mean bears or the friendly bears be more popular? Are members more compelled to rewatch and uncover all of the different storylines?,” wrote Carla Engelbrecht Fisher, director of product innovation at Netflix, in a blog post.
Word got out earlier this year that Netflix was experimenting with interactive videos—or branch narratives—and that the early trials of the technology would be built around children’s shows. If the content proves popular for Netflix, the SVOD might consider doing it for other shows more geared toward adult audiences.
Because of the branch narrative, run times for the shows will vary greatly depending on what choices the viewer makes. According to The Verge, “Puss in Book” can be as short as 18 minutes or as long as 39 minutes; and “Buddy Thunderstruck” plays on an infinite loop, continually spitting out choices.