Netflix has hired a former Electronic Arts and Facebook executive to lead an effort in bringing video games on their streaming service, expanding their offerings beyond films and television.
Bloomberg reports that Mike Verdu will join Netflix as vice president of game development, reporting to Chief Operating Officer Greg Peters. Verdu was previously Facebook’s vice president in charge of developing games and other content for Oculus virtual-reality headsets, Bloomberg explains.
Within the next year, Netflix hopes to offer video games available on their streaming platform, appearing alongside current film and TV fare as a new programming “genre,” with Netflix not planning to charge an extra fee for the new content. Verdu has worked on Electronic Arts’ most popular games, including The Sims franchise, Plants vs. Zombies, and Star Wars games, so his resume is very promising, hoping to diversify Netflix’s original content further than humanly possible. In addition, Netflix will be building out its gaming team in the coming months, with the company already advertising for game development positions on its website.
Citi analyst Jason Bazinet wrote that the movie creates “obvious risks” for larger game developers and publishers, with Bloomberg intelligence media analyst Geeta Ranganathran explaining that “This is a natural extension of its Netflix’s content strategy, allowing it to mine intellectual property from popular shows like ‘Stranger Things.’ Though it may not generate much additional revenue, it will help deepen engagement and increase the service’s appeal and pricing power. Don’t expect this to be a turning point, but it shows that the company will explore new formats to increase time spent on the platform.”
Netflix has already veered into the “gaming” industry (if you will) by creating interactive shows and films, such as Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and You vs. Wild, but this might be the streaming service’s most ambitious expansion yet, not only hoping to offer MORE than an endless amount of movies and TV shows available to stream but become the king of streaming services again. Only time will tell to determine if Netflix’s move was the right one.