Netflix is making its first big move beyond TV shows and films with plans to expand into video games.
The company has reportedly hired a former Electronic Arts and Facebook executive to lead the effort. Mike Verdu will join Netflix as Vice President of Game Development, the company said on Wednesday (14 July). Previously, Verdu was Facebook’s vice president in charge of working with developers to bring games and other content to Oculus virtual-reality headsets. He had a hand in popular EA mobile games, including The Sims, Plants vs. Zombies and Star Wars franchises.
As reported by Bloomberg, the company is planning to offer video games on its streaming platform within the next year. Said games will simply appear alongside Netflix’s current fare as a new programming genre, similar to its with documentaries or stand-up specials. The company isn’t currently planing on charging extra for the content, said Bloomberg’s source, who has asked not to be named due to the private nature of the ongoing deliberations.
The first rumours of Netflix’s gaming ambitions started back in May when the company began recruiting the position that’s currently filled by Verdu. At the time, Netflix simply said it was “excited to do more with interactive entertainment”.
This move shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering the rise in game streaming services via Stadia, Xbox Cloud Streaming and PlayStation Now, and in particular the success of the Xbox Game Pass subscription, which is often compared by fans to Netflix.
To some extent, Netflix has already dipped its toes in gaming waters. In 2019 the company worked together with developer BonusXP on creating a video game based on its hit show Stranger Things. As well as that, Netflix launched a number of interactive “choose-your-own-adventure” shows such as Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, You vs Wild and Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal.
More information around the types of games that would be available and details such as control mechanics are yet to be revealed.
Words by Denitsa Gencheva
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