UPDATE: Following publication of the original story, Netflix reached out to CinemaBlend to clarify what's happening. The popular streaming service is not calling this a game or a movie into gaming but instead an "interactive narrative series". Here's a portion of Netflix's statement:
"We can confirm Minecraft: Story Mode is a licensed 5-episode interactive narrative series coming to our service this fall. It's an extension of our other interactive stories we have on our service like Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout, Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile... 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."
Original story continues below...
Everyone has been talking about a video game version of Netflix. What company would make it? Who would bring such an industry-changing service to life? Which studio would finally make it happen? Well, it turns out that the one broaching the Netflix-style streaming service for video games is none other than... Netflix. I suppose it makes a heck of a lot of sense given that the company already has carved out a sizable portion of the market in the television and movie streaming space, so why not games? Netflix announced that it's not necessarily getting into gaming but it is adding some streaming games to its service. It may sound kind of confusing but it all makes sense in the end.
It's described as being similar to the way the other Telltale games like Marvel's Guardian of the Galaxy and The Wolf Among Us play on Amazon's Fire TV platform. The design is so that casual users can pick up and play them without requiring any of the standard home console hardware such as the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.
However, don't take it that Netflix is going all-in on gaming.
According to a follow-up update in the Tech Radar piece, the addition of Minecraft: Story Mode has more to do with its narrative structure as an unfolding story rather than Netflix being interested in it as a game. The company notes that it's an extension of the interactive stories currently available on the service such as Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout and Puss In Book: Trapped In An Epic Tale.
These interactive stories aren't viewed by Netflix as traditional games, but as in-depth worlds with compelling stories to tell that fit in with its streaming service focused on visual storytelling. In the statement Netflix explains...
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.
It's an interesting distinction here because the company is essentially separating the story-heavy games from the traditional games. But what about other narrative-driven titles like The Last of Us or God of War on the PS4? They're just as much games as they are cinematic experiences. And with games increasingly blurring the lines between gaming and storytelling -- such as Remedy Entertainment's Quantum Break -- it appears as if creating that distinction between what's a game and what's a cinematic, interactive narrative will get blurrier as time goes on.
Nevertheless, Netflix -- while not officially becoming a game-streaming service -- will be offering some video games on the platform under its description of "interactive narratives", which just so happens to include Minecraft: Story Mode.