Stop the presses: Netflix planning to get into games. As per a report from Bloomberg, the company has hired Mike Verdu, a former Electronic Arts and Facebook executive, to spearhead this new project.
At Facebook, Verdu worked to bring games to platforms such as Oculus. And at Netflix, as a VP of game development, he’ll try and bring games to screens where we stream Netflix.
The report noted that the company plans to introduce games as a programming genre such as movies, documentaries, and stand-ups — and the pilot program will launch sometime next year.
The firm is already posting jobs to recruit folks for this game team. Most streaming platforms don’t offer games, and Netflix will hope that this will attract more customers or lure the existing ones to spend more time on the platform.
In its 2018 earnings report, Netflix noted that Fortnite is its biggest competitor, rather than Hulu or HBO. With this new game offering, the company will hope to tackle that competition somewhat.
Netflix 41 days later: "We compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO"
Netflix 951 days later: Hires first gaming lead, previously VP of AR/VR @ Facebook, SVP of Mobile @ EA, Studio President & CCO @ Kabam, CCO and Co-President of Games @ Zynga https://t.co/gcjTdKTYFk
— Matthew Ball (@ballmatthew) July 14, 2021
Personally, I count myself a casual gamer at best. I play some titles from the Apple Arcade, have an occasional session of FIFA on my Nintendo Switch to ensure it doesn’t gather dust, and call it a day. So, I’d love Netflix to launch some titles related to popular series that I could just play in the app.
In the past, Netflix has launched games based on popular shows, such as Stranger Things, on mobile platforms. However, those were developed by third-party studios. Plus, it had dipped its toes into interactive content through stuff like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch — and I had thoroughly enjoyed it.
Netflix might bring some AAA-rated titles to its gaming service later in its life, but for starters, I’m hoping for games that can be five-minute mood boosters for me during a dull day. Please, make a BoJack Horseman game a reality.