Gaming Will Keep Growing Despite Economic Woes, Netflix Exec Says

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Gaming Will Keep Growing Despite Economic Woes, Netflix Exec Says
Photo courtesy of Netflix

The economic headwinds that are hurting tech companies these days won’t halt gaming’s growing popularity, according to Netflix Vice President of Games Mike Verdu.

During a panel discussion Tuesday at the Montgomery Summit conference in Santa Monica, Verdu said the roughly 3 billion people who currently play video games will continue to grow in number. He agreed that gaming can even be countercyclical—meaning that the industry can sometimes do better during tough economic conditions. And he predicted that the industry will continue to see more consolidation as tech and media giants, including Netflix, gobble up game developers.


“The genres and categories that are open to people will keep increasing, so I think you'll see richer and deeper experiences, as well as games that will draw people in who have never played games before,” Verdu said.

Verdu spoke at the Montgomery Summit on the same day that his company announced the release of four new mobile games this month. Netflix, which is dealing with a startling decline in subscribers, has aggressively expanded into gaming since late last year and will soon have 22 titles under its belt.

The strategy could help Netflix hang onto subscribers by making its monthly subscription more valuable. Verdu noted that the subscription model also frees developers to design mobile games that might not work with a free-to-play model, in which games rely on advertising and in-game purchases to make money. By bundling games into its subscription, Netflix hopes to “drive this explosion of innovation in the creative space,” he said.

“We're not trying to convert you, we're not trying to monetize you—we're trying to give you joy and delight to create an experience that will get you to come back,” Verdu added.

When asked about the metaverse—the loosely-defined term for immersive and extensive online worlds—Verdu said he hopes the experience is not limited to virtual reality.

“My hope is that the metaverse will be accessible through your phone, as well as through your VR headset,” he said. “Maybe your VR headsets give you a better flavor of it or a more immersive flavor of it, but there's no reason why it can't be distributed across devices.”

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Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

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