Netflix joins gaming market by hiring ex-EA and Facebook executive

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Netflix has confirmed to IGN that it has hired former Electronic Arts (EA) and Facebook executive Mike Verdu to spearhead its new game development department.

Previously rumoured in a Bloomberg report, the news was confirmed overnight, ending months of speculation surrounding whether Netflix would expand into video games.

Verdu has extensive experience in gaming, with a resume dating back to the late 1990s. In that time, he’s worked for Atari, Kabam, Zynga, and Electronic Arts, amongst others. Verdu previously oversaw bringing new developers and games to the Oculus VR ecosystem at Facebook with his past work at EA, including the company’s mobile game studios, which included major franchises such as SimCity and Plants vs. Zombies 2. The executive was also responsible for the casual gaming hit FarmVille.

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The hiring announcement didn’t detail any other plans by Netflix. There’s no news on whether the company will be developing its own games, licensing titles from other developers, or what kind of games will be involved.

In the past, Netflix has experimented with interactive shows. Black Mirror special, Bandersnatch, provided audiences with options that changed how the episode played out, with multiple endings to discover. The comedy series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt also included an interactive episode in 2020 with a series of different decisions made available to viewers.

Besides offering a growing number of interactive experiences, Netflix has also produced several series based on video game franchises, including The Witcher, Castlevania, and, most recently, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness.

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