Netflix is still considered to be the king of video streaming, but its once vast empire has now been split among other rivaling kingdoms, including the Kingdom of Mickey Mouse. Despite the increased competition, Netflix has kept true to its core service of distributing videos across multiple genres. It hasn’t dabbled in audio-only content like podcasts, for example, which seems to be experiencing a renaissance these days. It might, however, soon diverge into video games territory if its new exec is any indication.
Netflix’s gaming ambitions go back as far as 2018 when it launched the interactive fiction Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Minecraft: Story Mode. Rumors have popped up here and there about its plans to offer video games alongside its video streaming content, but the company’s official statements didn’t exactly commit to or deny such speculation. Its latest hire, however, pretty much confirms that it has a specific executive position related to video games.
Bloomberg reports on the hiring of Mike Verdu, a name that might be familiar in game development circles. Verdu held various high-level positions in EA, Kabam, and Zynga, and his most recent stint was at Facebook, where he sat as VP for AR and VR content. Verdu will now be Netflix’s vice-president for game development.
While that confirms Netflix’s preparations for a gaming venture, it doesn’t exactly answer the form this side hustle will take. According to insiders, Netflix will offer video games alongside its normal video streaming content without charging extra.
It is actually curious that Netflix would dip its fingers in a cookie jar with no direct relation to streaming, presuming it won’t be streaming games like Google Stadia. Gaming subscriptions are gaining traction across different gaming platforms, and Netflix might hard-pressed to find developers and publishers to join its platform when there are half a dozen more established services already available.