Netflix’s Trivia Show Experiment Is Part of Its New Frontier: Video Games

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Netflix’s Trivia Show Experiment Is Part of Its New Frontier: Video Games
Image courtesy of Netflix

When Netflix releases its new interactive show, “Trivia Quest,” on Friday, Netflix executive Andy Weil hopes that viewers will find themselves thinking about video games.

The 30-episode quiz show isn’t one of the streaming giant’s expanding roster of mobile games, but it’s easy to draw the connection. In “Trivia Quest,” viewers accumulate points and rescue kidnapped characters by correctly answering trivia questions. Users can watch the show—or “play the game,” to put it another way—on their phones and tablets, in addition to TVs and computers. Weil, Netflix’s vice president of comedy and interactive, wants the new show to bring attention to the company’s fledgling games portfolio.

“I think creating some awareness that your Netflix subscription doesn't just come with amazing television and movies—it comes with mobile games—I think would be a great byproduct of ‘Trivia Quest,’” Weil told dot. LA on Thursday.


Netflix, the streaming market leader with roughly 222 million subscribers, has moved to expand beyond traditional TV as it faces growing competition and slower-than-expected subscriber growth. On the gaming side, the company has bought three studios in six months, including Glendale-based Night School, and now has 16 mobile gaming titles under its belt.

Meanwhile, Netflix has continued its push into interactive programming with shows like “Trivia Quest” that blur the lines between TV and video games. In February, the company unveiled “Cat Burglar,” a Looney Tunes-style cartoon in which viewers answer trivia questions with the click of a cursor in order to advance the story. That title came from the creators of perhaps Netflix’s biggest interactive film to date, “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” which let viewers make decisions for the sci-fi movie’s characters, taking them down different plot paths toward various endings. On Wednesday, Netflix announced that it has an interactive rom-com on the way, too.

Trivia Quest | Official Trailer | Netflix

The streamer’s experiments with interactive storytelling is about finding ways to make subscriptions more attractive for consumers, Weil said. It’s also part of Netflix’s DNA as a “technology company,” he added—unlike, perhaps, some of its legacy media competitors who have more recently ventured into streaming.

“We have the technology to do this. We think that we can tell great stories doing it, or provide great experiences in the case of ‘Trivia Quest,’” Weil said. “So let's please our members, and use their money to give them great things.”

Starting Friday, “Trivia Quest” will launch a new episode every day throughout April, ending with 30 episodes that each feature 24 multiple-choice questions across categories including science, history, entertainment, sports, art and geography. Produced by Daniel Calin and Vin Rubino of Sunday Sauce Productions, “Trivia Quest” follows its hero, Willy, who rescues the animated citizens of Trivia Land from a villain “bent on hoarding all the knowledge in the world,” according to Netflix’s description.

Whereas previous interactive Netflix shows have taken viewers down different plot paths toward various endings, each “Trivia Quest” quiz has the same questions and a definitive ending, allowing viewers to compare final scores with their friends. Weil said the trivia idea came after his team discussed different possibilities for the software that powered the branching narratives of Netflix’s previous interactive titles.

“If you want to just passively watch TV and movies, we have that for you,” Weil said. “What interactive does is it allows you to interact and actually participate, which is I think a positive for those who want to do it.”

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Courtesy of Amanda Groves.

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