Netflix Inc. is eyeing an expansion into video games, marking the company’s first major step beyond TV episodes and films, and has hired a former executive from Electronic Arts Inc. and Facebook Inc. to oversee the endeavor. Netflix said on Wednesday that Mike Verdu will join the business as vice president of game development, reporting to Chief Operating Officer Greg Peters. Verdu was formerly a vice president at Facebook, where he was in charge of collaborating with developers to provide games and other content to the Oculus virtual-reality headsets.
According to a source familiar with the issue, the plan is to sell video games on Netflix’s streaming platform within the next year. The games will be shown alongside existing programming as a new genre, similar to how Netflix did with documentaries and stand-up specials. According to the source, the firm has no plans to charge more for the information at this time because the discussions are private. After Bloomberg reported the news, Netflix shares rose as much as 3.3 percent to $566 in late trade. Through Wednesday’s closing, the stock had gained 1.3 percent this year.
Netflix has been looking for new methods to expand, particularly in more crowded areas like the United States. This has included expanding its children’s programming, launching an online store to sell products, and enlisting the help of Steven Spielberg to add more famous films to its slate. Although the business continues to outperform streaming competitors such as Disney+ and HBO Max, it acquired fewer members than projected in the most recent quarter.
According to a source familiar with the situation, Netflix will be expanding its gaming staff in the coming months. The business has already begun posting job openings for game development roles on its website. Video games provide Netflix another method to attract new consumers while also providing something that none of its immediate competitors do. Live sports are available through Walt Disney Co., AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia, and Amazon.com Inc., although gaming is not available through their primary video offerings.
In the end, the change may make it simpler for Netflix to justify future price hikes. Games can also be used to help promote current shows. In addition to television services, several of the major internet businesses provide gaming choices. Apple Inc. features a gaming platform known as Arcade, as well as a TV+ service for original video projects. However, there is a fee for gambling.
Netflix has already sold the rights to games based on its series, such as “Stranger Things,” but this new endeavor is considerably bigger. According to the source, the Los Gatos, California-based business has yet to decide on a game-development approach. Netflix, in true Netflix form, may begin with a small number of games and expand from there.