Netflix is hiring Mike Verdu to lead the streaming company’s push into gaming. Verdu will join as vice president of game development and report to COO Greg Peters, Netflix confirmed Wednesday.
Verdu comes from Facebook, where he was vice president of content for Facebook Reality Labs, where he was in charge of working with developers to create games for Oculus.
Before joining Facebook, Verdu was senior vice president of mobile for Electronic Arts, responsible for mobile game studios that operated “SimCity BuildIt”, “Plants vs. Zombies 2,” “Real Racing 3,” “The Sims Freeplay,” “The Simpsons: Tapped Out,” “Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes,” and other mobile-game services.
Bloomberg News first reported Netflix’s hire of Verdu.
Verdu served as president of studios at Kabam from 2015 to 2016, joining that company through the acquisition of his mobile game start-up TapZen. Verdu was also president of studios and chief creative officer for Zynga from 2009 and 2012.
Netflix’s foray into gaming was teased earlier this month with the streaming giant’s new deal with Shonda Rhimes, which included gaming and virtual reality content. A report in May from The Information said Netflix had “approached veteran game industry executives about joining the company.”
Gaming isn’t completely foreign to Netflix – it made a “Stranger Things” video game with an outside company, and its “Castlevania” series is based on the Konami video game of the same name.