Netflix is looking to expand into the world of video games, and has recruited a former executive from Electronic Arts Inc. to help with the effort.
As Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday (July 14), Mike Verdu will join the streaming service as vice president of game development. In addition to his time with Electronic Arts, Verdu also held an executive position with Facebook, where he worked with developers to bring games to Oculus virtual reality headsets.
“The idea is to offer video games on Netflix’s streaming platform within the next year, according to a person familiar with the situation,” the Bloomberg report said. “The games will appear alongside current fare as a new programming genre — similar to what Netflix did with documentaries or standup specials.”
For now, Netflix has no plans to charge extra for the content, the source told Bloomberg.
Netflix has been on the hunt for ways to grow amid a saturated streaming market, with tactics that include a beefed-up slate of kids’ shows and working with Steven Spielberg to produce more sophisticated films.
And as PYMNTS reported last month, the service has launched Netflix.shop, an online store where fans can buy merchandise based on shows such as Stranger Things and The Witcher. Available for now just in the U.S., the store features exclusive, limited-edition apparel, games, toys and other products.
According to Bloomberg, Netflix remains “well ahead” of rivals like Disney+ and HBO Max, but has added fewer subscribers than anticipated in its most recent quarterly report.
Aside from those major players, Netflix must also contend with the more than 100 streaming services, many of which are aimed at specific audiences: home decor, classic films, horror movies, talk shows, etc.
“Pushing into games would be one of Netflix’s boldest moves yet,” stated the Bloomberg report. “In Verdu, the company has an executive who worked on popular mobile games at Electronic Arts, including titles in the Sims, Plants vs. Zombies and Star Wars franchises. He also served as chief creative officer for Zynga Inc. between 2009 and 2012.”