It seems that Netflix is looking to move into the video game market in the near future. Netflix recently hired Mike Verdu, who previously worked as an executive for Electronic Arts and Facebook. This is reportedly the first move by the company in a larger scheme to infiltrate the gaming business.
Verdu was hired as vice president of game development, according to a Bloomberg report. He most recently served as Facebook’s vice president for virtual and augmented reality content. As a part of this role, he worked with creators to produce content for the Oculus Rift and other devices. Prior to this role, he served as the head of EA mobile from February 2017 to June 2018. His duties included overseeing studios such as Popcap, Capital Games, FireMonkeys and Red Crow. These studios were responsible for titles including Plants vs. Zombies, Simcity Buildit and The Simpsons: Tapped Out.
Video games will be available in the same space on Netflix as movie and television content. They will be highlighted as a new type of content on the service but will come at no additional cost, stated an anonymous Netflix employee.
News of this hire had a notable effect on the stock market. Netflix stock gained around 2.8%, while Gamestop experienced a 6% decline.
Netflix is constantly looking to gain an edge on competitors such as HBO, Disney and NBC, and a foray into the gaming space would certainly bring opportunity for the company. Netflix has dipped its toes into video games in the past with Stranger Things 3: The Game which was released for PC and console. They have also produced interactive versions of watchable content. One example of this was Black Mirror: Bandersnatch which allowed the audience to make their own choices that affected the story. Netflix also partnered with Telltale Games to produce Minecraft: Story Mode, a video game in which the players determine the course of the narrative.
Netflix looks to expand its already massive reach as it attempts to expand into gaming.