Netflix is arguably a big deal in the entertainment industry. Now, it looks like the streaming giant is eying on an even bigger slice of the pie. Netflix could expand its network by including video games in its catalog alongside the movies and TV series. While some might think this is an impulse decision by the company, it’s not! Back in May, The Information reported that Netflix was seeking an executive to boost its investments in the gaming space. Now, according to a new report by Bloomberg, the company has hired Mike Verdu as its Vice President of game development reporting to COO Greg Peters. Netflix has confirmed the hire to The Verge.
For those unaware, Mike Verdu has a wide experience in gaming. Verdu had previously been a Facebook VP dedicated to bringing content to the Oculus platforms, and an EA executive who worked on mobile games such as The Sims, Plants vs. Zombies, and the Star Wars franchises. He also acted as a chief creative officer for Zynga around the same time FarmVille was ruling Facebook. The report also suggests that Netflix could offer games right next to its other streaming content “within the next year” with a whole new listing genre just like Documentaries and various others. It is worth noting that Netflix will not charge you anything extra for the experience.
Gaming is not totally new to Netflix as it already has a few interactive, choose your own adventure style programming like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, You vs Wild, Minecraft Story Mode, and others. Back in April, during its earnings call, Peters said “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. And so really we’re trying to figure out what are all these different ways that we can increase those points of connection, we can deepen that fandom. And certainly, games is a really interesting component of that.”
Peters further added that “And there’s no doubt that games are going to be an important form of entertainment and an important sort of modality to deepen that fan experience. So we’re going to keep going, and we’ll continue to learn and figure it out as we go.” Netflix is seemingly looking at gaming as a new frontier of content to bolster its catalog. Now, this takes Netflix a step ahead of its competitors like HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video. We cannot count Apple TV Plus into this considering the fact that Apple has its own gaming catalog in form of Apple Arcade.
Netflix Gaming, well, given how restrictive Apple and Google are regarding iOS and Android apps for game streaming services, both the companies would take issue with Netflix offering gaming content in its subscription service. For those unaware, the current services such as Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Amazon Luna would have to use browser workarounds for players to game on their smartphones. But, it is too soon for us to comment on this and we are not exactly aware of what Netflix’s implementation is.
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