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Netflix decides not to gamify children’s shows after all

Netflix decides not to gamify children’s shows after all


Critics called the feature ethical dubious

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Credit: Twitter @brianbuffington

Netflix has decided “not to move forward” with gamifying children’s shows, the company announced today. Previously, Netflix had been testing out a new feature for children that let them earn “patches” for watching episodes of certain shows. The feature was meant to incentivize kids to watch select Netflix Originals.

Netflix said in a statement today to The Verge: “We’ve concluded the test for patches and have decided not to move forward with the feature for kids. We test lots of things at Netflix in order to learn what works well — and what doesn’t work well — for our members.”

Shows that had been selected were marked with red locks (for some unclear reason) for the select users who had been included in the test. Netflix chose shows and films like Trollhunters, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Home, and The Magic School Bus Rides Again.

Some of the feedback Netflix got from users was simply confusion. The feature didn’t seem fully baked because you couldn’t actually do anything with the patches once you earned them. Granted, it was just a test. More vocal critics, however, called the move ethically dubious for promoting behaviors that could get young kids addicted to television. After all, for a handful kids, the patches have actually convinced them to watch an excessive amount of Trolls.

Ultimately, it’s likely Netflix decided the vast majority of users’ responses weren’t positive enough to merit keeping the feature.