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Netflix’s video-game ambitions are coming close to reality.
The streaming giant has hired former Facebook and Electronic Arts gaming guru Mike Verdu to clear its path into the video-game industry. Netflix confirmed to The Post that Verdu will join the company as vice president of game development.
Verdu was most recently vice president of content for Facebook Reality Labs, where he oversaw Oculus Studios and the teams that brought in new games to Oculus VR headsets. Prior to that, he was senior vice president of mobile for Electronic Arts, where he was responsible for games like “Plants vs. Zombies 2,” “The Sims Freeplay” and “Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes.”
The shape that Netflix’s foray into gaming could take, however, is unclear. The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company did not comment on what Verdu’s hiring means specifically for its video game plans.
Netflix debuted the interactive game-like film “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” in 2018, which could be a window into its future aspirations. More recently, Netflix launched a more traditional video game around its hit series “Stranger Things,” and last week’s deal with Shonda Rhimes included a gaming and virtual reality component.
At Netflix, Verdu will report to Greg Peters, Netflix’s chief operating officer and chief product officer. In April on the company’s earnings call, Peters hinted at Netflix’s gaming aspirations.
“We’re in the business of creating these amazing, deep universes and compelling characters and people come to love those universes and want to immerse themselves more deeply and get to know the characters better,” Peters said.
“We’re trying to figure out all of the different ways that we can increase those points of connection and deepen that fandom and certainly games is a really interesting component of that.”
Verdu’s hiring was first reported by Bloomberg.
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