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23rd of March 2018


Netflix Tests Gamifying Kids' Shows with Trophy Unlocking

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UPDATE 3/15/18: Following the media exposure, Netflix has decided to drop the "patch collecting" for kids videos. It didn't say why, but the company hinted that not everyone was happy with the test feature.

"We test lots of things at Netflix in order to learn what works well —and what doesn't work well— for our members," it said in an email.

Original story:

Has Netflix found a way to encourage binge watching among children?

A new test feature from the streaming service is trying to turn TV watching into a trophy collecting game. Since early January, select Netflix users have been noticing the mysterious "patch collecting" feature.

So you can collect patches on Netflix now ?? @NetflixUK

— ?Big Thicc Yatta? (@hhannahleighhh) February 1, 2018

It works like this: Children who finish an episode of certain Netflix shows will unlock a virtual patch. When you finish watching the series, you'll collect them all.

Y'all. What is Netflix patch collecting?

— Colin Dunham (@colindunham) March 3, 2018

On Friday, Netflix told PCMag that the feature was simply designed to make the viewing experience more fun. "We are testing a new feature on select kids titles that introduces collectible items for a more interactive experience, adding an element of fun and providing kids something to talk about and share around the titles they love," the company said in an email.

The feature, which appears as a red unlock icon over a Netflix series, is available for shows including Fuller House, A Series of Unfortunate Events and Trollhunters, among others. However, there's no special reward when all the patches are collected for a show. So test users shouldn't expect to receive anything, aside from perhaps bragging rights.

Children may like the feature, but at least a few parents have been less receptive.

.@netflix has patches /badges now? What's the deal with this?? As if getting my son to stop watching Netflix wasn't hard enough. Now I have to deal with him wanting to binge endless hours of shows just to earn a silly patch? Not good. My opinion I know, but still I don't like it!

— Ed Munoz (@LivingDadly) February 24, 2018

Some have been wondering if patch collecting will arrive for more adult Netflix programs like Stranger Things. Others have tweeted that the feature is better suited for TV shows that are actually educational for kids and warrant an achievement.

@netflix is now offering "patches" to children who watch their shows. Not a fan, but they understand the value of micro-credentials. What if this $2+ Billion company created QUALITY edu content (they created Stranger Things!), and offered badges to students.

— Brian Buffington (@brianbuffington) March 2, 2018

So far, only select users have access to the patch collecting feature. "We learn by testing and this feature may or may not become part of the Netflix experience," the company said.

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