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Netflix partnered with Telltale Games on 'Minecraft' and 'Stranger Things' projects

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!

Slow down, it's not as big a splash as you might think. Netflix reached out to Mashable to clarify some of the earlier reporting, and we now have a much clearer picture of what's happening here.

TechRadar initially reported that the service will be announcing a partnership with Telltale Games that will bring Minecraft: Story Mode, the episodic series, to the service. 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.

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A Netflix spokesperson later reached out to Mashable with further clarification. "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.:

In other words, Minecraft: Story Mode coming to Netflix isn't some new venture for the streaming service. It is more high-profile than the titles that precede it there, thanks entirely to the Telltale connection. But this isn't a new look for Netflix, it's an extension of an existing look.

The spokesperson also confirmed that a Stranger Things project is indeed in the works (as the earlier report had stated), but it's not built for Netflix a la Story Mode. "The Stranger Things project is launching on the Telltale platform at a later date, not on the Netflix service." (Telltale has since confirmed this as well.)

Our statement ended with a final note laying out how Netflix views the broader landscape of interactive entertainment, video games, and how the difference between the two defines the company's approach to embracing one but not the other.

"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."

So there's some truth to the original report: A rebuilt, streaming-friendly version of Story Mode is coming to Netflix, and separate from that, Telltale is also working on a Stranger Things adventure. TechRadar's sources suggested that an announcement of the partnership "could happen any day."

Netflix isn't playing the semantics game when it drives a wedge between interactive entertainment and video games. What it's planning with Story Mode is a long way off from 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. But that approach also places limits on the types of games it can support (i.e. don't expect a Call of Duty: Netflix Edition) — which, as we now know, is by design. 

So Netflix is going to be "the Netflix of Telltale games," if anything. But if you were hoping this represented a first step toward the streaming of modern "AAA" games, the blockbusters like Assassin's Creed or Destiny, keep waiting. It's going to happen, and probably sooner than you think, but Netflix has no apparent intention of diving into that space.

UPDATED June 13, 2018 4:05 p.m. ET with a Netflix statement further clarifying a number of inaccuracies from the original report.

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