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Netflix eyes foray into video gaming, hires former Facebook exec as gaming VP

The streaming giant plans to offer video games within the next year, say report.

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New Delhi: Netflix is finally making the big move. Even as media conglomerates across the world slug it out to challenge its dominance in the streaming space, the US giant is gearing up for its next step. According to reports, Netflix is planning to expand beyond its traditional streaming business, and make its foray into video gaming.

On Wednesday, Netflix hired former Facebook, vice president, Mike Verdu, as VP of game development to lead its video games unit, reported Bloomberg. Verdu was previously Facebook’s vice president in charge of working with developers to bring games and other content to Oculus virtual-reality headsets.

He has previously served as senior vice president of EA mobile, president of studios and chief creative officer at Kabam, CEO of TapZen, and chief executive officer for Zynga from 2009 to 2012. At Netflix, he will report to chief operating officer Greg Peters.

The idea is to offer video games on Netflix’s streaming platform within the next year, Bloomberg quoted a person familiar with the situation. According to the report, the games will appear alongside current fare as a new programming genre -- similar to what Netflix did with documentaries or stand-up specials.

The reports suggest Netflix will build its gaming team in the next few months, and it has “already started advertising for game-development related positions on its website”.

The company now has 208 million paid subscribers across the globe, up from 204 million last quarter, and the latest announcement could be its boldest move yet. The announcement comes at a time, when Netflix is looking at ways to catalyse its growth especially in saturated markets like the US. Analysts contend that the move could also enable the company to justify its price hike in the coming few months.

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