Video Games on Netflix? OTT Company hires Mike Verdu, Director of Video Games, as Vice President of Game Development


Netflix has hired veteran video game director Mike Verdu, announcing that the video streaming service is poised to expand into a new fruitful entertainment industry.

Verdu’s addition to Netflix’s vice president of game development, confirmed Thursday as the company seeks to maintain the momentum it garnered last year as people turned to video streaming to get the locks set during the pandemic.

Netflix shut down 37 million global subscribers last year, by far the largest annual profit in its history. But the landscape has changed dramatically now that a mitigating pandemic has allowed people to return to the horizon of their normal lives.

The video service stumbled out of the gate in the first three months of this year, announcing its lowest subscriber growth in the first quarter in four years, and it also predicted low spring gains. California-based Los Gatos is scheduled to announce April-June results on Tuesday.

Representative image through the Associated Press

Representative image through the Associated Press

The addition of video games would give Netflix a new way to build the nearly 208 million subscribers it boasted at the end of March. Nor would it come as a surprise, given that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has long said the company competes as much with video games for some people’s leisure time as other video streaming services like Amazon. , Hulu, Walt Disney Co. and Apple.

Netflix did not directly comment on the potential entry of video games, but left little doubt about its intention by announcing the title of Verdu in the company. Verdu joins Netflix from Facebook’s Oculus service, where he oversaw virtual reality headset maker games. He has previously worked for video game manufacturers Electronic Arts and Zynga.

The biggest questions now are when Netflix may start offering video games and whether it intends to charge a separate fee for playing them or whether to include them in video streaming services.

In a research memorandum, CFRA analyst Tuna Amobi called video games a logical complement to Netflix’s extensive library of TV series and movies, helping to create a phase of potential price increases that most subscribers will accept.

Greg Peters, chief operating officer of Netflix, told investors in April that video games could be another way to attract subscribers who are already immersed in the service’s TV series and movie stories.

“We’re trying to figure out what are all these different ways we can add these points of contact, we can deepen that fandal,” Peters said at the time. Verdu reports to Peters in his new role.

Investors seemed to take a wait-and-see attitude about Netflix’s possible experiment with video games. The company’s stock price fell 1% to $ 542.95 on Thursday. While much of the stock market has been at a record high recently, Netflix shares have fallen 8% from a January high of $ 593.29.

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