American over-the-top content platform and production company Netflix is planning an expansion into video games and has hired a former Electronic Arts and Facebook executive to lead the effort.
According to the company statement, Mr. Mike Verdu will join the company as Vice President of Game Development. Mr. Verdu was previously Facebook’s vice president in charge of working with developers to bring games and other content to Oculus virtual-reality headsets.
As per the sources, the plan is to offer video games on Netflix’s streaming platform within the next year. The games section will appear alongside current fare as a new programming genre, which is similar to what Netflix did with documentaries or stand-up specials. The company has no plans to charge more for the content at this time.
Netflix’s foray into games would be one of the company’s most bold actions yet. Mr. Verdu has worked as an executive in popular mobile games at Electronic Arts, including titles in the Sims, Plants vs Zombies, and Star Wars franchises. Further, he also served as a chief creative officer for Zynga between 2009 and 2012.
According to the reports, Netflix will be building out its gaming team in the coming months. The company has already begun posting job openings on its website for game development-related jobs.
Video games give Netflix another avenue to attract new users while also providing something that none of its direct competitors offer. Walt Disney, AT&T’s WarnerMedia, and Amazon all have access to live sports, but they do not have gaming within their main video services.
Ultimately, the move may make it easier for Netflix to justify price rises in the coming years. Games can also be used to help promote existing shows.
In addition to video services, several of the top tech companies sell gaming alternatives. Apple has a platform called Arcade for games, as well as a TV+ service for original video projects. But it charges extra for the gaming.