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Netflix is expanding into video games and has hired Mike Verdu, a former Facebook and Electronic Arts executive, as its new vp game development, a Netflix spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.
Verdu was most recently vp 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. He was also formerly senior vp mobile for Electronic Arts, where he was responsible for mobile games like Plants vs. Zombies 2, The Sims Freeplay and Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes.
At Netflix, Verdu will report to Greg Peters, Netflix’s chief operating officer and chief product officer.
Liontree CEO Aryeh Bourkoff, the banker behind many of the year’s biggest media deals, including the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger and MGM’s sale to Amazon, signaled that such a move by Netflix could be in the cards during a panel at the Tribeca X conference last month.
“Amazon, if it was still offering books today, and that’s all, people would churn off of it,” he said. “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?”
Last week, Netflix also signaled it was moving into the podcast space with the hire of N’Jeri Eaton, a former Apple and NPR executive, as the company’s first head of podcasts.
Bloomberg first reported Verdu’s hiring.
Alex Weprin contributed reporting.
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