Join gaming leaders, alongside GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming, for their 2nd Annual GamesBeat & Facebook Gaming Summit | GamesBeat: Into the Metaverse 2 this upcoming January 25-27, 2022. Learn more about the event.
Netflix has hired former Oculus and EA game development leader Mike Verdu to head its fledgling game efforts.
The company has been hiring game people for a while, and Verdu is the biggest name yet to come on board at the streaming service for movies and TV shows. The move shows the company is serious about expanding into games, which Netflix CEO Reed Hastings once described (pointing out Fortnite in particular) as Netflix’s biggest competition for the time of its customers.
Verdu will be vice president of game development, reporting to chief operating officer Greg Peters. Verdu was Facebook’s vice president in charge of augmented reality and virtual reality content. He also served as senior vice president of EA mobile, president of studios and chief creative officer at Kabam, CEO of TapZen, and chief creative officer and co-president of games at Zynga.
Netflix has dabbled in games before with titles like a Stranger Things game and The 3% Challenge. The latter is a voice-controlled game. And Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a game-like experience, as it’s an interactive TV show in which the audience makes choices that influence the end of the story.
The 2nd Annual GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming Summit and GamesBeat: Into the Metaverse 2
January 25 – 27, 2022
These were babysteps into games. But Verdu is a serious game leader whose career has focused on building entire portfolios of games for companies.
Netflix’s move into games has been anticipated, as all of the big tech companies have acknowledged the power of gaming, which has grown to a $175 billion industry, according to market researcher Newzoo. In the wake of the pandemic, gaming is also growing faster than many other forms of entertainment and media, according to a report this week by PwC.
But moving into games isn’t easy. Google spun up a studio to make games for its Stadia cloud gaming service, and then it shut down the internal game studio that Jade Raymond led. Amazon has also had mixed results with games like Crucible, and it recently decided to open source its Lumberyard game engine. Facebook owns the Oculus virtual reality business, and it is experimenting with cloud gaming now, and it is touting services for game streamers. Apple, meanwhile, is working on augmented reality and virtual reality technologies.
GamesBeatGamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
- Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
- The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
- Networking opportunities
- Special members-only interviews, chats, and "open office" events with GamesBeat staff
- Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
- And maybe even a fun prize or two
- Introductions to like-minded parties