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Netflix to expand into video games, hires new executive

OTT platform Netflix will now be expanding into video games, and for that, the company has hired Mike Verdu, a former Facebook and Electronic Arts executive, as its new vice president of game development.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Verdu was previously the VP of content for Facebook Reality Labs, where he oversaw Oculus Studios and the teams that brought second-and third-party virtual reality games to Oculus VR headsets.

Before that, he was also the SVP of mobile for Electronic Arts, where Verdu was responsible for mobile games like ‘Plants vs. Zombies 2’, ‘The Sims Freeplay’ and ‘Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes’.

Now, at Netflix, Verdu will be reporting to Greg Peters, Netflix’s chief operating officer and chief product officer.

Liontree CEO Aryeh Bourkoff, the banker behind many of 2021’s biggest media deals, including the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger and MGM’s sale to Amazon, had earlier signaled that such a move by Netflix could be in the cards during a panel at the Tribeca X conference last month.

At the time, he said, “Amazon, if it was still offering books today, and that’s all, people would churn off of it. Companies have to evolve. I think you will see a lot more companies that offer direct to consumer products, even Spotify, even Netflix, offer more and more services. Why have Spotify or Netflix just have video, or just have audio? Why not have gaming? Why not have a multi-product approach, following what Amazon has done?”

As per The Hollywood Reporter, last week, Netflix also signaled that it was moving into the podcast space with the new hire of N’Jeri Eaton, a former Apple and NPR executive, as the company’s first head of podcasts.

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