15 JUL 2021

NETFLIX PLANS TO EXPAND ITS VIDEO GAME OFFERING

The advancement, intended to introduce the platform’s presence in the gaming industry, will be led by the streamer’s newly appointed executive Mike Verdu, who joins as VP of game development.

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Netflix plans to expand its video game offering through its recent appointment of Mike Verdu, a former Facebook and Electronic Arts executive, as its new VP of game development. “We’re in the business of creating these amazing deep universes and compelling characters and people come to love those universes and they want to immerse themselves more deeply and get to know the characters better and their backstories and all that stuff,” Greg Peters, Netflix’s Chief Operating officer and Chief Product Officer, said during a conference call.

With this move, Netflix hopes to begin offering “an Apple Arcade or Xbox Game Pass-like subscription bundle.” Netflix previous gaming projects include interactive features like "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch" and "Carmen Sandiego," as well as licensed games including a "Stranger Things" title for mobile devices. “Amazon, if it was still offering books today, and that’s all, people would churn off of it,” Liontree CEO Aryeh Bourkoff, said. “Companies have to evolve."

Set to oversee the efforts, Verdu will report to Peters upon assuming his role with the streamer. The former Facebook and Electronic Arts executive oversaw Oculus Studios and contributed to the teams that brought second-and third-party virtual reality games to Oculus VR headsets. He was also formerly senior VP mobile for Electronic Arts, where he was responsible for mobile games like “Plants vs. Zombies 2,” “The Sims Freeplay” and “Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes.”

The platform recently hinted a podcast expansion with the hire of former Apple and NPR executive, N’Jeri Eaton, as the company’s first head of podcasts. Game offerings are to be expected “within the next year” listed as a new genre just like documentaries. "I think you will see a lot more companies that offer direct-to-consumer products, even Spotify, even Netflix, offer more and more services," Bourkoff continued. "Why has Spotify or Netflix just have video, or just have audio? Why not have gaming? Why not have a multi-product approach, following what Amazon has done?”

We’re in the business of creating these amazing deep universes and compelling characters and people come to love those universes and they want to immerse themselves more deeply and get to know the characters better and their backstories and all that stuff.” Greg Peters Chief Operating officer and Chief Product Officer, Netflix