Netflix has signaled its expansion into the world of video games with its latest executive hire, Mike Verdu.
Verdu will serve as Netflix’s vice president of game development and will report to COO and chief product officer Greg Peters.
According to Bloomberg, which first reported Verdu’s hiring, video games should hit the platform within the next year as a new programming genre, akin to their rollout of documentaries and stand-up specials. Netflix doesn’t plan to charge extra for the new addition.
Before joining Netflix, Verdu was the V.P. of content for Facebook Reality Labs where he oversaw Oculus Studios and the teams bringing second- and third-party virtual reality games and other apps to Oculus VR headsets, such as Oculus Quest and Quest 2. Verdu also previously served as the senior V.P. of Mobile for Electronic Arts, where he was responsible for the mobile game studios that operated “SimCIty BuildIt,” “Plants vs. Zombies 2,” “Real Racing 3,” “The Sims Freeplay,” “The Simpsons: Tapped Out” and Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes,” among others.
After Kabam acquired Verdu’s mobile game start-up, TapZen, he served as president of studios from 2015 to 2015. From 2009 to 2012, he was president of studios and COO for Zynga, which included oversight of studios making and operating Facebook social games, such as “Cafe World,” “FrontierVille,” “CastleVille,” “Mafia Wars” and “Zynga Poker.” Early on in his career, Verdu served as executive producer of “Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II,” among others.
Verdu’s hiring follows Netflix’s addition of N’Jeri Eaton to lead its expansion into podcasts.