San Ramon, CA — Netflix has hired veteran video game executive Mike Verdu to show that video streaming services are ready to expand into another fertile entertainment space.

The addition of Verdu as Netflix’s Vice President of Game Development, confirmed Thursday, is due to people trying to maintain last year’s momentum towards video streaming services to overcome the blockade imposed during the pandemic. ..

Netflix added 37 million subscribers worldwide last year. This is the largest annual growth rate in its history. But now that the pandemic mitigation has allowed people to return to their normal lives, the landscape has changed dramatically.

Video services were out of the gate during the first three months of the year, recording the lowest first-quarter subscriber growth in four years, and forecasting a modest increase in spring. The Los Gatos, Calif. Company will report results for the April-June period on Tuesday.

With the addition of video games, Netflix can further strengthen its nearly 208 million subscribers, which it boasted at the end of March. Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings is surprising given that he has long said he is competing with video games for people’s leisure as much as other video streaming services such as Amazon and others. Not. , Hulu, Walt Disney Co., Apple.

Netflix didn’t comment directly on its potential entry into video games, but the company’s announcement of the Verdu title left little doubt about its intentions. Verdu joined Netflix from Facebook’s Oculus and oversaw the game for the virtual reality headset maker. He previously worked for video game makers Electronic Arts and Zynga.

The biggest question here is when Netflix will start offering video games, and will they charge a separate fee to play them, or will they be included as part of their video streaming service? ..

In a research note, CFRA analyst Tuna Amobi called video games a logical complement to Netflix’s vast library of TV series and movies, with the final price increase accepted by most subscribers. I’m ready.

Netflix Chief Operating Officer Greg Peters told investors in April that video games could be another way to attract subscribers who are already immersed in the stories that unfold in the service’s TV series and movies. Said there was.

“We are trying to understand all these different ways we can increase these connection points. We can deepen that fandom,” Peters said at the time. Verdu reports to Peters on his new work.

Investors seemed to be on the lookout for Netflix’s potential for video games. The company’s share price fell 1% and closed at $ 542.95 on Thursday. While much of the stock market has recently hit record highs, Netflix shares have fallen 8% from their January peak of $ 593.29.

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Will video games appear on Netflix?The latest recruitment provides clues | Entertainment

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