Former Overwatch boss Chacko Sonny to lead new Netflix studio as Verdu talks cloud gaming


The Netflix news keeps coming: now it has hired former Overwatch lead Chacko Sonny to head up a new studio in Southern California. And Netflix games boss Mike Verdu confirmed that the streaming giant has 55 games incoming and is “seriously exploring a cloud gaming offering”.

Verdu was speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt event about the streaming giant’s strategy. You can watch his interview below in full.

Netflix’s latest new hire Chacko Sonny was, until last year, executive producer for the Overwatch franchise at Blizzard. He has also previously held senior roles including director of product development at Sony Santa Monica and studio lead at Activision-owned Beachhead. He was also founder, creative director and CFO at Savage Entertainment for 12 years.

“He could have done anything, but he chose to come here,” Verdu said of new hire Sonny. “We are building a team around him and looking to him to help reinvent what games can be. You don’t get people like that coming to your organisation to build the next big thing in gaming unless there’s a sense that we’re really in it for the long haul and in it for the right reasons.”

Verdu also confirmed that the streaming giant now has 55 games “in flight”, which includes 14 games from its own studios. The forthcoming games are a mix of Netflix-owned IP, licensed titles and new properties, and Verdu was clear that Netflix’s offerings would never have IAPs or ads. “We generate business impact by generating delight to members,” he said.

He also talked a little about cloud gaming, too. “We’re seriously exploring a cloud gaming offering so that we can reach members on TVs and on PCs,” he said, adding that Netflix would start small and move relatively cautiously in the space.

“It’s a value add,” he continued. “We’re not asking you to subscribe as a console replacement. It’s a completely different business model. The hope is over time that it just becomes this very natural way to play games wherever you are.”

Verdu would not be pushed on whether Netflix might eventually make its own game controller.

This latest round of Netflix news follows a string of recent headlines – Verdu spoke recently about making ‘the definitive Stranger Things game’, and Netflix hired Zynga’s Marko Lastikka to build its new Helsinki studio. 

Previous to that, Netflix signed a deal with Ubisoft to create three new exclusives, including an Assassin’s Creed game, and launched the new game from Monument Valley maker Ustwo Games: Desta: The Memories Between.

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