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Bank: Gaming a “smart move” for Netflix

July 16, 2021

The news that Netflix has made a key appointment to its game development division is good news for the streamer says a report from equity analysts at investment bank Exane/BNPP.

Mike Verdu will join Netflix as VP/game development, reporting to COO Greg Peters, the company has confirmed. Verdu was previously Facebook’s VP/in charge of working with developers to bring games and other content to Oculus VR.

The idea, says the bank, is to offer video games on Netflix’s streaming platform within the next year. The games will appear alongside current fare as a new programming genre – similar to what Netflix did with documentaries or stand-up specials.

According to the report Netflix will not be charging extra for the Games access. At least initially.

The bank adds: “Pushing into Video game is a smart move from Netflix: (1) it allows to bring more content and differentiate vs main competitors (HBO, Disney, Hulu), (2) the move may make it easier for Netflix to justify price increases in coming years, (3) There have been increasing links between movies/series and video games in recent years. All that should help the company continue growing in more saturated market.”

“With Mike Verdu, Netflix has an executive with great experience in video game who worked on popular mobile games at Electronic Arts, including titles in The Sims, Plants vs. Zombies and Star Wars franchises. He also served as chief creative officer for Zynga between 2009 and 2012. Netflix entry could be an important development and have repercussion for the rest of the industry given its firepower, large user base and expertise in ‘casual binge’,” continues the report.

“In general,” the report adds, “we think entry of large tech players on distribution are generally positive for publishers as it permits to fragment even more the distribution and increase value of IPs.”

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