Verdu is a long-time developer and producer, to say the least. He was already in the industry in the early 90s, when he co-founded Legend Entertainment, developer of games such as the Spellcasting series, Gateway series, Companions of Xanth, Death Gate, Mission Critical, and Sword of Shannara. In late 1998 he became Studio Head at Atari, where he is credited as Project Director on Unreal II: The Awakening and as Producer on The Wheel of Time game adaptation.
In July 2002, Verdu joined EA as Sr. Producer on Command & Conquer Generals before becoming an Executive Producer on The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II. Between 2007 and 2009, he was General Manager of EA Los Angeles, overseeing the Command & Conquer, Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-earth, and Medal of Honor franchises. Later, he moved to Zynga, then Kabam, only to return to EA's mobile department. In the last two years, he worked at Facebook as vice president of AR/VR content, where he helped bring games like Vader Immortal: Episode II and III, Asgard's Wrath, Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge, and Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond to Oculus platforms.
Hiring Mike Verdu certainly is a good start, though the Netflix Gaming team will have to grow very quickly to meet the lofty goal of launching within the next year. The games should be available within the same platform, as an additional genre on top of the existing ones, and the current plan doesn't include charging any extras for the gaming content.
Netflix previously dabbled in interactive shows and a couple of game adaptations of its IPs (Stranger Things and Narcos), and it continues to adapt game IPs to the TV series and/or film format. This Netflix Gaming proposition appears to be a much more robust plan to attract gamers to the streaming service, though. It's also a big turnaround from the statement shared by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in late 2019 when the executive said the company was squarely focused on TV shows and films.