Netflix Inc. is making its first big move beyond films and TV shows. It is planning to expand to the domain of video games and hired the ex-Facebook and former Electronic Arts Inc. executive to lead the project. Mike Verdu is going to join Netflix as the game development Vice President and will report to Greg Peters, the Chief Operating Officer, said the company on July 14. Verdu was previously the vice president of Facebook and was working with developers. His work was to bring better games and content to virtual-reality headsets of Oculus.
The main idea is to bring video games on the streaming platform of Netflix by 2022. The games are going to appear as a new programming genre that will be similar to Netflix’s stand-up specials and documentaries. The company has still not planned the extra charges for the content, said a person familiar with the whole situation and asked to remain unidentified. Netflix has been seeking a different way for constant growth, and pushing video games into the platform will be a bold move.
Netflix will be creating its gaming team within the upcoming months. Hiring the former EA and Facebook executive will help Netflix to fulfill its effort. Previously, the EA executive has worked on mobile games like Sims, Star Wars franchises, Plant vs. Zombies, and many more. The company has already begun advertising game-development-related things on its website. The inclusion of video games will provide Netflix another way to attract new customers and offer something which none of its competitors are providing. This move will ultimately justify the price increases of Netflix in the coming years.
According to the research of iOS developer Steve Moser, the evidence of plans of Netflix to add video games appear in the files that are hidden deep inside the company’s app. Netflix has earlier licensed the rights to all the games based on its streaming platform shows like Stranger Things. However, this initiative is way larger and has a lot of scopes.
Netflix has earlier made its move into interactive programming like choose-your-own adventure-type shows. It has also created program versions such as Black Mirror and Carmen Sandiego in a similar format. Netflix co-Chief Executive Officers Ted Sarandos and Reed Hastings shared their deep interest in making a move towards video games. They have identified Fortnite, the battel-royale shooter game, as a competitor for the customers.