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Netflix gamifies content recommendations on the PS3 with “Max”

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Detailed on the official Netflix blog this week, the streaming video company is starting to roll out a voice assistant on the PlayStation 3 called Max. Offering a similar voice experience to Siri on the iPhone, Netflix is attempting to make content discovery entertaining with mini-games narrated by the kooky Max. Conceptually, this will allow Netflix to gain greater insight into user content preferences by encouraging the user to fill out more star ratings and select preferences regarding actors and actresses as well as different genres of television shows and movies.

netflix-max-rating-gameFor instance, one of the content discovery tools is called The Rating Game. After picking a general genre of content like comedies or dramas, Max brings up several options and asks the user to give each piece a content a star rating. At this point, Max takes all this into consideration before making a recommendation.

Interestingly, Netflix has also created a new feature called the 30-second pitch. If available on the content detail screen, Max will dive into a 30-second synopsis of the show while adding a bit of humor in order to convince the user to watch it.

Another mini-game asks the user to choose between two actors or actresses and Max will offer a suggestion starring the selected actor or actress. Netflix also included a variation on that mini-game that requires the user to choose between genre tags. If the user spends some time with all of these content discovery tools, the final mini-game will be more effective. Called Max’s Mystery Call, Max takes everything it knows about the user and automatically starts playing a television show or movie based on previous star ratings and viewer history.

For the moment, Max is only available to PlayStation 3 Netflix Instant users within the United States. Assuming the experiment is successful, Netflix is looking at the iPad as the next platform to receive Max. However, the company hasn’t released a specific timeline regarding Max’s future.