Netflix Inc. is planning to venture into video games in its efforts to tap subscribers, and has hired former Facebook Inc. and Electronic Arts Inc. executive Mike Verdu to lead the effort, Bloomberg reported.
The company, which now offers TV shows, movies and documentaries, is likely to offer video games on its streaming platform within the next year.
Netflix’s shares increased following the news. In pre-market activity on Nasdaq, the shares were gaining around 1.9 percent.
As per the report, the games will appear as a new programming genre, like documentaries or stand-up specials. The company will not be charging extra for the new content at present.
The streaming service, despite being well ahead of rivals such as Disney+ or HBO Max, has been seeking ways to boost growth after reporting sharp drop in first-quarter subscriber additions recently.
Netflix has appointed Verdu as vice president of game development. The company will be building out its gaming team in the coming months, and has already started advertising for game-development related positions on its website.
Previously, Verdu was Facebook’s vice president. He has also worked on popular mobile games at Electronic Arts, and served as chief creative officer for Zynga Inc.
In April, Netflix had said it added 3.98 million paid subscribers in the first quarter, way below the 15.77 million in the same period last year, and below the company’s guidance of 6 million.
Netflix attributed the fewer membership addition in the quarter to a lighter content slate, due to Covid-19 production delays. The company also said then that the pandemic “pulled forward” growth from 2021 by extraordinary membership surge in 2020.
Netflix then said, “The production delays from Covid-19 in 2020 will lead to a 2021 slate that is more heavily second half weighted with a large number of returning franchises. And while the roll out of vaccines is very uneven across the world, we are back up and producing safely in every major market, with the exception of Brazil and India.”
Of late, the company, which is streaming in more than 30 languages and 190 countries, has been finding new ways to add subscribers. In late June, the company added three new kids’ animated comedy series created by well-known first timers to its menu.
Netflix further inked a deal with Steven Spielberg’s production company Amblin Partners to cover multiple new feature films per year. The company is also opening an online shop to sell merchandise.
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