A report from The Information back in May maintained that video streaming giant Netflix was getting ready to push beyond TV and film, and was actively approaching candidates to oversee its expansion into gaming. As first reported by Bloomberg, that position is falling to Mike Verdu, former head of AR/VR content at Facebook Reality Labs and one-time chief of mobile games at EA.
Verdu is said to take on the role of VP of game development at Netflix, reporting to company COO Greg Peters.
Citing someone familiar with the situation, Bloomberg reports that Netflix will offer games on its streaming platform within the next year. Games are said to be included in the service’s monthly price, and will supposedly be hosted alongside streaming video content.
Verdu joined Facebook in 2019 during a reorganization of Oculus, which saw multiple executives shuffled throughout the company. Verdu replaced Jason Rubin, who at the time went on to head special gaming initiatives for Facebook.
During his time as Facebook’s head of AR/VR content, Verdu oversaw multiple studio acquisitions, including Beat Games (Beat Saber), Sanzaru Games (Asgard’s Wrath and others), Ready at Dawn (Lone Echo and Echo Arena), Downpour Interactive (Onward), and BigBox VR (Population: One). Those acquisitions spanned a year and a half, marking a significant push by Facebook to consolidate talent behind some of the medium’s most successful gaming properties.
Under Verdu, Facebook’s VR gaming celebrated a milestone of 60+ Oculus Quest apps exceeding $1 million in revenue, which was no doubt spurred by the 2020 release of the company’s second-gen standalone headset, Oculus Quest 2.