We can all stop asking who will be the first to launch “the Netflix of games.” We have our answer now, and that answer is… Netflix!
As was initially reported by TechRadar, and later confirmed by Netflix, the service’s addition of streaming games will start with Minecraft: Story Mode, the episodic series from Telltale Games. Each episode will stream as a video file, and you’ll be able control them using any remote equipped with a directional pad and select buttons.
The initial report framed the news as a rumor, via sources speaking to TechRadar. But an inaccurate point in the report prompted Netflix to respond with an official statement, so we now have informal confirmation.
As TechRadar’s update, via Netflix, notes: “While Minecraft: Story Mode will indeed be the first game from Telltale to launch on Netflix in an adapted form, it now appears as though Stranger Things will not be an interactive experience but rather a new Telltale series.” (TechRadar’s words.)
Playable demos of the Netflix streaming games — which for now appear to be limited only to Telltale’s works — have reportedly been in existence for at least a year. TechRadar’s sources suggested things are far enough that an announcement “could happen any day.”
This shouldn’t be confused with a service like PlayStation Now, which streams games out of a data center filled with powerful computers. Netflix’s take on streaming games apparently involves remaking them on some level so they can play nice with the service. That also places limits on the types of games it can support (i.e. don’t expect a Call of Duty: Netflix Edition).
TechRadar’s sources also noted that the Stranger Things game was originally slated for a fall 2017 launch, but it ended up being pushed back. Netflix’s official follow-up with the site offered some clarification on what the Stranger Things game will be — a full-on Telltale series — but not when it will be released.
There are obviously plenty of questions here, but this is a welcome, if also surprising, move for Netflix to take. Dedicated game services like Xbox Game Pass and EA Origin Access Premier have already started hinting at a streaming future — which, to be clear, would work very differently than what you’re reading about here — but it’s looking like we’ll hear more about Netflix’s plans much, much sooner.