Netflix is delving into the video game space in its first major move outside of film and television. The streaming giant initially signaled its intent to head in that direction during the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo, where executives mentioned the concept of a mobile game based on the Netflix original series Stranger Things.
The company now aims to offer a gaming subscription bundle similar to Apple Arcade or Xbox Game Pass, according to The Verge.
“We’re in the business of creating these amazing deep universes and compelling characters and people to come to love those universes and they want to immerse themselves more deeply and get to know the characters better,” Netflix COO Greg Peters said. “And so really we’re trying to figure out what are all these different ways that we can increase those points of connection.”
Peters added that video games will be a vital part of entertainment in the future and “an important sort of modality to deepen that fan experience.”
To lead the initiative, former Facebook and Electronic Arts executive Mike Verdu will join Netflix as vice president of game development. He previously served as VP of augmented and virtual reality content at Facebook.
Netflix already offers a mix of streaming and interactive entertainment, including Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Carmen Sandiego, and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt series finale. According to Bloomberg, the company plans to increase its gaming selection “within the next year.” Giving 200 million subscribers even more to choose from, Netflix hopes the video game venture will grow its user base and harness a new revenue stream.