Netflix Hires Facebook Gaming Executive Mike Verdu, Taking Its First Step In The Gaming Industry
Netflix has taken its first step into the gaming industry after hiring former Electronics Arts Inc. and Facebook executive Mike Verdu to lead the new initiative. Netflix announced Wednesday that Verdu will join the company as vice president of game development. Netflix said it had hired former Facebook CEO Mike Verdu to lead the company’s video games division as it continues its efforts to expand beyond its traditional streaming business. Netflix has signaled its expansion into the video game world with its latest executive, Mike Verdus.
The report follows rumors in May that Netflix was looking for a key executive to bring an Apple arcade-style bundle of games to market. At the time, it was also reported that the streaming platform was considering bundling games with Apple Arcade.
Netflix wants to expand its reach beyond streaming movies and TV shows by hiring a former executive from Electronics Arts and Facebook to lead a new gaming initiative. Sources told Netflix plans to add video games to its service in some form from 2022. Netflix signaled that it would make a regular part of its exclusive content as it seeks to enter the video game market and enter video games and TV series adaptations. Verdu previously held the same position at Facebook, Bloomberg reports, where he helped lead the social media giants in VR and AR and helped developers bring their games to the platform. Verdu was also a former Oculus executive who worked with developers on Oculus Rift and Quest Go.
Verdu was studio president and creative director at Zynga from 2009 to 2012. He has also served as EA Mobile senior vice president, Chief Creative Officer, and Co-president of Games at the company. Verdu has extensive gambling experience, with a CV dating back to the late 1990s.
Netflix is reportedly taking note of the growing popularity of video games in the mainstream. As media companies around the world try to challenge Netflix’s dominance in the streaming space, the streaming giant is reportedly preparing for its next move. Netflix reportedly plans to expand beyond its traditional streaming business and venture into video games. Netflix will add video games to its streaming service next year, according to a Bloomberg report. Netflix shares rose as much as 33 percent to $5.66 after Bloomberg broke the news.
However, it is far from clear how Netflix intends to distribute the game on its platform. The company has yet to clarify whether it plans to distribute the game through its platform.