If you haven't heard, Netflix has a radical new concept that will allow viewers to literally choose-your-own-adventure in an episode of the acclaimed dystopian sci-fi series, Black Mirror--and it could forever change streaming as we know it

Interactive TV isn't a foreign concept, per se, as it has certainly been experimented with before, thanks to the help of platforms like YouTube, but this is different and, if successful, has the potential to create an entire Interactive Streaming category.

Actually, Netflix itself isn't a stranger to interactive content. The streaming giant debuted interactive adventures in numerous shows for kids a year ago. If the format of those shows is any indicator of how the Black Mirror episode--and other, future shows--will be constructed, we can expect it to go something like this: after the opening 10-15 minutes, the show will pause and viewers will have to make a choice. After another segment, another choice will be offered. In the past, Black Mirror episodes typically lasted around an hour, so viewers may get as many as 5-6 chances to alter the fate of the onscreen characters. 

Aside from adding a new landmark to the streaming landscape, Netflix is giving us something else to look forward to. 

I'm referring to the increasingly blurry line between cinema and gaming. The sci-fi action adventure title Quantum Break (Remedy Entertainment and Microsoft Studios, 2016) represents the other side of the coin: a video game that incorporates live-action television segments as part of the narrative, rather than traditional computer-generated cutscenes. 

On top of that, you've got 4D movies and tons of great virtual reality games. How, when, and where these things will all converge are questions that we're still waiting on answers to. How long, for example, will it be before we are actually characters in our favorite TV shows?

Don't get me wrong; the upcoming Netflix episode ought to be extremely cool in and of itself, but the implication is also pretty wild. It's almost like something out of--gasp--Black Mirror!

Hope you enjoyed the 'stream' of consciousness (see what I did there?). 

Published on: Oct 2, 2018