Netflix will allegedly also offer games in the future, as it hired Mike Verdu to lead its new video game department, in the hopes to gain more subscribers.
On Thursday, 15 July 2021, Netflix confirmed to IGN that it has hired former Electronic Arts (EA) and Facebook executive, Mike Verdu, to lead its new game development department. This is said to be in the hopes of expanding its subscriber counts.
Verdu’s gaming career started in the late 90s, and he has worked for Zynga, Atari, Kabam and Electronic Arts, amongst other companies. Bloomberg previously reported that Mike was responsible for bringing developers and games to the Oculus Virtual Reality ecosystem at Facebook. Verdu also oversaw EA’s mobile game studios, which operated games like Plants versus Zombies 2, SimCity and more.
Netflix’s subscriber count has allegedly decreased from 2020. Consequently, the streaming company is hoping to expand its subscriber count and provide a new revenue stream by adding video games to its content. Even though video games have been around for decades, the industry allegedly showed a strong revenue growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, video gaming has reportedly become the fastest-growing entertainment category, with revenues larger than the movie and music industries combined.
Netflix is not completely new to the gaming world, as it has previously produced video games alongside third-party developers, including a Stranger Things mobile game, and Stranger Things 3: The Game. The platform is also well known for producing game-inspired television movies and shows, based on Castlevania, Dota, and The Witcher. Netflix has also experimented with interactive movies and series, like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, giving viewers the opportunity to choose their own adventures in the movie.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Netflix, Reed Hastings mentioned in 2019 that its biggest competition for attention is not other streaming platforms, such as HBO and Disney Plus. According to him, it is rather games such as Fortnite that Netflix competes with, and loses to. However, Netflix now plans to take Fortnite head on within the next year.