Netflix Inc. marks its first step outside of TV shows and movies. The company is planning to expand into the field of video games and has hired former executives from Electronic Arts and Facebook to lead the work.
Netflix said on Wednesday that Mike Verdu will join Netflix as vice president of game development, reporting to chief operating officer Greg Peters. Verdu served as Facebook’s vice president, responsible for working with developers to bring games and other content to Oculus VR headsets.
According to people familiar with the matter, the idea is to provide video games on Netflix’s streaming platform next year. These games will appear as a new type of show with current charges, similar to what Netflix does in documentaries or stand-up comedies. The person, who asked not to be named, said that the company currently does not plan to charge more for content.
After Bloomberg reported the news, Netflix’s stock price rose by 3.3% to $566 in the most recent transaction. As of Wednesday’s close, the stock has risen 1.3% this year.
Netflix is always looking for ways to maintain growth, especially in more saturated markets such as the United States, which include developing shows for children, opening online stores to sell merchandise, and turning to Steven Spielberg to bring more visibility to its lineup the film. The company is still far ahead of its streaming competitors such as Disney+ or HBO Max, but it has added fewer subscribers than expected in the most recent quarter.
Promoting game development will be one of Netflix’s boldest moves to date. At Verdu, one of the company’s executives worked in the Electronic Arts industry for popular mobile games, including games from the “The Sims”, “Plants vs. Zombies” and “Star Wars” series. From 2009 to 2012, he also served as the creative director of Zynga Inc.
According to people familiar with the matter, Netflix will form its gaming team in the next few months. The company has already begun posting advertisements for game development-related positions on its website. Video games provide another way for Netflix to attract new customers, and it also offers something that its direct competitors currently do not offer. Walt Disney Co., AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia, and Amazon.com Inc. can all watch live sports, but there are no games on their main video services. Ultimately, this move may make it easier for Netflix to justify the price. Increase in the next few years. These games also help to promote existing programs.
In addition to video services, many large technology companies also sell gaming options. Apple Inc. has a gaming platform called Arcade and a TV+ service for original video projects. But it charges more for the game. The news shocked the stock of GameStop Corp., a video game retailer that has been trying to make a comeback. It fell 10% in extended trading on Wednesday.
According to research by iOS developer Steve Moser shared with Bloomberg, evidence of Netflix’s plans to add games has begun to appear in hidden files deep in the company’s apps.
Netflix has previously authorized gaming rights based on its shows, including “Stranger Things,” but the scope of this new plan is much broader. The person familiar with the matter said that California-based Los Gatos has not yet decided on a game development strategy. In the typical Netflix way, the company can start with a few games and then build from there.