Mixed Reality

Netflix Hints At Metaverse Amid Oculus Exec Hire

Netflix has begun to tap into the value of the digital metaverse after it hired Mike Verdu as its Vice-President of Game Development, the Verge reported on Wednesday.

Mr Verdu became known for his gaming innovation talent as an alumnus of Electronic Arts and Facebook’s Oculus division.

Mr Verdue worked at Facebook as the Menlo Park-based firm acquired metaverse developers Bigbox and Unit 2 Games, and aims to take this experience with him to Netflix, the report added.

Greg Peters, Netflix Chief Operating and Product Officer, said in a 2021 earnings report:

“We’re in the business of creating these amazing deep universes and compelling characters and people come to love those universes and they want to immerse themselves more deeply and get to know the characters better and their back stories and all that stuff”

Netflix Hints at Building a Metaverse

Netflix has acquired a laundry list of intellectual properties (IP) from films to games, and can use the brands to push larger solutions for immersive experiences and eCommerce.

Peter added Netflix is exploring “different ways that we can increase those points of connection” as it dedicates resources to creating a shared online viewing space for its massive 200 million subscribers.

Further metaverse hints come from a recent extended partnership with producer Shonda Rhimes, who created hit TV serieses such as Grey’s Anatomy, Bridgerton, and How to Get Away with Murder.

The agreement adds Mrs Rhimes will “exclusively produce, stream and distribute feature films as well potential gaming and VR content” for Netflix, reports found.

More on the Metaverse

The metaverse is a shared virtual space with massive potential for eCommerce, unified communications, video gaming, and collaboration, and has seen a major uptick among popular platforms such as Zoom and ENGAGE VR, and many others.

Various platforms have seen users and stock prices skyrocket in recent months as businesses, organisations, and individuals struggle to remain connected amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Platforms such as Virbela and Vive’s XR Suite are translating this into a space for enterprises, which is key to the future of collaboration.

Netflix’s Entry, Development in VR

Recently, the movie streaming company has shown increasing interest in immersive entertainment and virtual reality (VR) products.

Netflix entered the foray into VR territory after releasing “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” in 2018, which was hailed a phenomenal success with its “choose-your-own-adventure” style of immersive storytelling.

But those were just baby steps for the firm as it continued to search for innovations in media streaming.

The movie streaming giant also joined the video gaming market following its Black Mirror release to compete with rival platforms such as Microsoft Gamepass and Sony Playstation Now.

But the news comes after the gaming industry saw the dissolution of its Telltale-Netflix partnership.

Netflix released its first video game, ‘Minecraft: Story Mode’ the same year, created by California-based developers Telltale Games.

It is understood this coincided with the release of a Stranger Things video game from the firm. Telltale shut its doors in 2019, leading to the cancellation of the Stranger Things tie-in.

The Minecraft: Story Mode release and proposed Stranger Things video game suggests a planned partnership between Telltale and Netflix, with the former remaining the sole game on the platform.

Rory Greener

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