Netflix Inc. is marking its first big move beyond films and TV shows. The company plans to expand into video games and has hired a former Electronic Arts Inc. and Facebook Inc. executive to lead the effort.
Netflix shares gained as much as 3.3% to $566 in late trading after Bloomberg reported the news. The stock had been up 1.3% this year.
Mike Verdu will join Netflix as Vice President of game development, reporting to Chief Operating Officer Greg Peters, the company said in an official statement. Verdu was previously Facebook’s Vice President in developing games and other content for Oculus virtual-reality headsets.
According to a familiar person, the idea is to offer video games on Netflix’s streaming platform within the following year. The games will appear alongside current fare as a new programming genre — similar to what Netflix did with documentaries or stand-up specials. The company doesn’t currently plan to charge extra for the content, said the person who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.