Netflix is apparently preparing an impending expansion into the video game market, with a former Electronic Arts and Facebook executive leading the charge.
Mike Verdu, the most recent vice president of augmented reality and virtual reality content at Facebook, was named vice president of game development by Netflix on Wednesday. Verdu will report to Greg Peters, Chief Operating Officer, once it has been implemented on the platform.
Given Verdu’s experience at EA, which includes mobile hits like the Sims, Plants vs. Zombies, and Star Wars franchises, as well as his three-year stay at Zynga, the makers of Farmville, we can speculate on the types of games Netflix will produce in-house.
Alternatively, Netflix may opt for a hybrid model, similar to Google’s Stadia, in which it offers popular games from other platforms while adapting them for its own streaming technology. However, given that game streaming is likely to be included in the current subscription price, it’s more likely that it will focus on in-house titles.
The news is just the latest move by Netflix into an universe beyond streaming material like television episodes and movies, a realm that the platform has been hinting at for years to its 200 million customers. During the E3 gaming expo in 2019, Netflix first hinted at a future market expansion when it announced a planned mobile game based on the “Stranger Things” franchise.
Since then, Netflix has been less than forthcoming about its planned expansion, naming — Fortnite — a popular video game that has something to do with dancing — as its primary competitor in a 2019 letter to shareholders.
The Information originally revealed in May 2021 that Netflix was looking for an executive to bolster its gaming investments. It’s also not the first time Netflix has attempted to blur the boundaries between standard streaming programming and more avant-garde media, with recent interactive features like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Carmen Sandiego being examples.
Netflix is making measures that appeal to stakeholders, with shares jumping 2% in extended trading on Wednesday on the announcement of Verdu’s appointment, if the stock market can be trusted — which, let’s face it, it can’t. If things keep going as they are, we should all be ready for My Octopus Teacher: The Interactive Deep Sea Experience by 2025.
If the stock market can be believed — which, let’s face it, it can’t — Netflix is taking steps that will appeal to stakeholders, with shares soaring 2% in extended trading on Wednesday following the announcement of Verdu’s appointment. By 2025, we should all be ready for My Octopus Teacher: The Interactive Deep Sea Experience if things continue as they are.
Nevertheless, there will be yet another excuse to raise Netflix subscription costs, as it did not long ago, this time with the promise of a fresh new entertainment outlet, all from the comfort of your own Netflix account. Meanwhile, don’t anticipate this game option to appear in the Netflix app for iOS or Android without a struggle, as it will compete with Apple’s Arcade and Google Stadia projects.