In May, reports emerged that Netflix is planning to expand into video games and is looking to hire an executive to lead the efforts. The company seems to have found the man. According to a Bloomberg report, the streaming giant has hired former Electronics Art (EA) SVP Mike Verdu to lead its push into gaming.
Mike Verdu has a long experience of the gaming world. According to his LinkedIn profile, he has been working in this sector since as early as 1990, when he co-founded a PC games developer and publisher startup called Legend Entertainment. Legend was acquired by GT Interactive in 1998, which was subsequently acquired by Atari.
Since then, Mr. Verdu has worked for many renowned gaming brands including Zynga, Kabam, and EA, where he headed the EA Mobile division. He worked on several popular mobile games at EA, including the Star Wars franchises and Plants vs. Zombies. Most recently, Mr. Verdu was Facebook’s vice president for AR/VR content. He was responsible for working with developers to bring games and other content to the company’s Oculus VR headsets.
At Netflix, Mike Verdu will work as vice president of game development. He will report to Chief Operating Officer (COO) Greg Peters.
Netflix is aggressively pushing into video games
Netflix has been actively expanding its portfolio beyond TV shows and movies lately. The company recently started selling merchandise and launched its kids’ programming. However, gaming will be its first major expansion and the streaming giant is pretty serious about it.
Not only has the company hired a vastly experienced man to lead the efforts, but it also has job listings for other game-development-related positions. According to the report, Netflix will build out its gaming team in the coming months. It plans to offer video games on its streaming platform as early as next year, which means the company will not be making a separate platform for gaming-related content.
The games could be offered as a new programming genre alongside Netflix’s current content portfolio, just like documentaries and other specials. And as you might expect, it is unlikely to charge extra for the gaming content initially. That’s how companies usually try to get people on board when they are expanding their portfolio to a new sector.
Video games will give Netflix another major way of growth. It’s something none of its streaming competitors offer currently. It will now be interesting to see how things pan out.