There may soon be a new kid on the gaming block as Netflix makes steps to expand its entertainment empire. The streaming service has plans to beef up its subscription service by including video games.
As Bloomberg reports, Netflix has welcomed ex-Electronic Arts executive Mike Verdu into their team. Verdu will be serving as the company’s Vice President of Game Development. Currently, there is no plan to increase the price of their services as a result of the planned additional content. Already, job listings for positions within their gaming department can be found on their website.
This revelation confirms previous murmurs regarding Netflix making plans to delve into the world of video games. In May, there were already reports that they were approaching game developers to research the potential of including gaming as part of their services. Speculation was heightened when, in July, Netflix announced they had made a partnership with Shonda Rhimes, who is the producer of the hit show Bridgerton. This partnership, they claim, opens the way for “potential gaming and virtual reality content”.
Netflix has enjoyed dominance in the realm of movie and television streaming despite competing with juggernauts such as Disney+ and HBO. Their venture into gaming would certainly be a new avenue for them, but it would not be the first time they have shown interest in interactive media. The streaming service has previously licensed the rights to game adaptations of their IPs. It is through such ventures that Stranger Things 3: The Game was released in 2019. The game is a beat-’em-up delivered using a 16-bit art style, and features many characters from the popular series.
Interactive movies are also familiar ground for Netflix. The most notable example of this is Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, released in 2018. In this interactive movie, you are given the opportunity to make decisions that affect the fate of the characters. The sitcom series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was also graced with an interactive special titled Kimmy vs. The Reverend which featured multiple endings.
On the surface, this would appear to be a wise move for Netflix. Gaming is a growing medium that has only seen its popularity inflate in recent years, making it a formidable competitor to other forms of home entertainment such as television. Instead of trying to beat them, Netflix has decided it is better to join them. However, only time will tell whether the streaming service has the savvy to navigate a field where many others, including Google and Amazon, have struggled to gain traction.