A report this spring from The information said that Netflix was looking for a leader to lead the pressure to games, with a view to offering an Apple Arcade or Xbox Game Pass-like subscription bundle. Now, as first reported by Bloomberg, the streaming company has hired Mike Verdu as vice president for reporting game development for COO Greg Peters. A spokesman for Netflix confirmed the appointment to The Verge.
According to Bloomberg, Netflix can offer games right next to the second streaming content “over the next year” listed as a new genre just like documentaries or anything else, without charging extra for the experience.
Verdu is a former leader who has experience with mobile game companies such as Zynga, ran EA Mobile for a year, and has recently worked on Facebook to acquire a series of Oculus game developers such as BigBox VR, producer of Population: a.
In his last earnings call in April (PDF), Peters said “… we are in the process of creating these amazing deep universes and compelling characters, and people are falling in love with these universes, and they want to delve deeper and get to know the characters better and their back stories and all that. And then we really try to figure out what are all these different ways we can increase these connection points, we can deepen that fandom. ”
“And certainly, gaming is (sic) a very interesting component of that … And there’s no doubt that gaming is going to be an important form of entertainment and an important form of modality to deepen the fan experience. So we come to to continue, and we will continue to learn and find out as we go. ”
Netflix gaming forays have included interactive features such as Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Carmen Sandiego, as well as licensed games including a Stranger Things title for mobile devices. It currently also has a few job listings for positions that produce and manage interactive products, records that do not mention the word gaming, but show that there is staffing with people who have the experience needed to help that division get off the field.
Update July 14, 19:25 ET: Added further details and confirmation from a Netflix spokesperson.