Netflix is making a streaming ‘Minecraft’ product, but don’t call it a ‘game’

Netflix Inc. is working with independent videogame developer Telltale Games to create an “interactive narrative series” that will be released on its streaming platform this fall, the company confirmed Wednesday while denying any plans to stream actual videogames.

The series is a five-episode choose-your-own-adventure feature of sorts called “Minecraft: Story Mode,” based on Microsoft Corp.’s MSFT, -0.45%  popular “Minecraft” videogame. Telltale will also develop a “Stranger Things” videogame for consoles and PCs, though it will not be available on Netflix, according to a Netflix spokesperson.

Despite the coming projects with Telltale, Netflix NFLX, +4.43% said in an emailed statement that “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.”

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Earlier on Wednesday, shares of large videogame publishers like Electronic Arts Inc. EA, +2.50%  , Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. TTWO, +3.28%  and Activision Blizzard Inc. ATVI, +0.96%  dipped very briefly after the publication of a Techradar story that said Netflix had entered into a deal that would bring simple game experiences to its streaming service. Techradar later clarified that Telltale would not be publishing any videogames on the actual Netflix streaming platform.

Netflix launched an interactive storytelling feature last summer, aimed at children with titles like “Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout,” “Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale” and “Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile.” The shows act as a choose-your-own-adventure experience, with several branching points where the user can decide what actions the main character takes.

Although the streaming giant has worked with outside companies on other interactive shows, this is the first time the streaming giant has partnered with a traditional videogame maker.

“Our partnership with Netflix is something we’re incredibly proud of, and while we don’t have anything more to share right now, we’re excited to reveal details on these projects later in the year,” a spokesman from Telltale said in an email.

Although Netflix is not planning to make videogames a part of its streaming platform, it is working with companies to develop videogames for other consoles based on its original shows for marketing purposes. On its jobs site, the media giant says it is looking for a manager of interactive licensing who will help “develop and implement an interactive category strategy for growth through console, mobile and PC platforms,” adding: “We are pursuing videogames because we believe it will drive meaningful show awareness/buzz and allow fans to ‘play’ our most popular content.”

Netflix shares jumped 4.4% Wednesday to another record close after Goldman Sachs analyst Heath Terry raised his price target on the stock to $490 from $390. The company’s shares have risen 97.9% in the past year, while the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.40%  has increased 3.8%.

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