To Michelle Lloyd | Associated Press
SAN RAMON – Netflix has hired Mike Verdu, an experienced video game executive, signaling that the video streaming service is expanding into a more fertile field of entertainment.
Verdu’s addition as Netflix’s vice president of game development confirmed Thursday that the company wanted to maintain the momentum it gathered last year when people turned to the video streaming service to go through the lockdown imposed during the epidemic.
Netflix hit 37 million subscribers worldwide last year, the biggest annual gain in its history. But the landscape has now changed dramatically as the epidemic of comfort has allowed people to return to a memory of their normal lives.
In the first three months of this year, the video service stumbled out of the gates, posted its youngest first-quarter subscription in four years, and predicted its spring profits would also be low. The Los Gatos agency in California will announce its results for the April-June period on Tuesday.
Adding video games could create another way for Netflix to reach its 208 million subscribers by the end of March. Reed Hastings, co-CEO of Netflix, has long said that the company competes against video games as much as it does in public leisure time, as it competes against other video streaming services offered by Amazon, but not surprisingly, Hulu, Walt Disney Co and Apple.
Netflix has not commented directly on the possible entry of video gaming, but the company has left little doubt about its purpose in announcing Verdu’s title. Verdu is joining Netflix from Facebook’s Oculus, where he oversaw games from virtual reality headset maker games. He has previously worked at video game makers Electronic Arts and Jainga.
The big question now is whether Netflix can start offering video games and charge a separate fee to play them or include them as part of video streaming services.
In a research note, CFRA analyst Tuna Amobi said video games are a logical complement to Netflix’s huge library of TV series and movies, which will help most consumers set the stage for price increases.
Greg Peters, Netflix’s chief operating officer, told investors in April that video games could be another way to engage customers already immersed in the service’s TV series and stories published in movies.
“We’re trying to discover what all these different ways we can do to enhance these issues of connection, we can deepen this realization,” Peters said at the time. Verdu will report to Peters on his new job.
Investors seem to be taking a wait-and-see attitude towards Netflix’s potential boom in video games. Shares of the company fell 1% to close at 2 542.95 on Thursday. Most of the stock market is currently at a record high, with shares of Netflix falling 8% to a high of ড 593.29 in January.