Netflix is reportedly taking its first steps into the games industry, hiring former Electronic Arts Inc. and Facebook executive Mike Verdu to lead the effort, according to Bloomberg.
Building on previous reports, this has been something Netflix has looked into for a while now, approaching multiple video game industry experts back in May when it was considering a “bundle” of games. Now, the company plans to add video games to its service in some form starting in 2022.
Bloomberg reports that Verdu, who previously worked at Facebook working with developers to bring games to Oculus devices, will join Netflix as vice president of game development. He will work under the company’s chief operating officer Greg Peters.
This move is an expansion that Netflix has likely been planning for years, as, back in 2019, the company said its main competition was Epic Games’ Fortnite, not other streaming services. The company has also been expanding with more content based on videogame content, such as the already released DOTA: Dragon’s Blood and The Witcher series, with a League of Legends animated series, Arcane, coming in the near future.
The specifics of Netflix’s plans in the games industry haven’t been shared, but whatever this expansion adds to the streaming service will likely enter a cloud-streaming market that has already features Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and potentially Walmart, too. If Netflix wants to compete against these pre-existing services, specifically Xbox Game Pass, it will need to launch with some heavy-hitting offers and a plan to grow at a sustainable rate.
This could also complicate how Netflix operates on iOS devices, since Apple doesn’t allow Game Pass or other similar services to host apps in the App Store. Rather, the services have to offer alternative access through iOS browsers.