Youtube Playables, a new feature reportedly being tested by Google, aims to introduce interactive games to the popular video platform. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google, YouTube’s parent company, has sent an email to its employees asking for internal testing of the feature. Playables could be accessible through the YouTube app on iOS and Android devices, as well as through the desktop browser.
Summary: YouTube is reportedly testing a new feature called “Playables” that would bring interactive games to the platform. Users could play games like Stack Bounce via the YouTube app or desktop browser. While YouTube has not confirmed the feature, this move aligns with its focus on gaming content and could offer new opportunities for user engagement and monetization.
While specific details about the feature are scarce, The Wall Street Journal mentions one game called Stack Bounce. It is described as an arcade game where players try to break layers of bricks using a bouncing ball. Although it’s difficult to envision the gameplay without screenshots, it appears to resemble the classic Atari game Breakout.
YouTube’s Statement: Gaming as a Long-standing Focus
YouTube declined to confirm the existence of Playables, with spokesperson Alex McQuiston emphasizing that gaming has long been a focus for the platform. McQuiston said,
“We’re always experimenting with new features, but have nothing to announce right now.”
Social Media Companies and Gaming: A Shift in Strategies
This move by YouTube comes as other social media companies have scaled back their gaming investments. For example, ByteDance reportedly reduced its gaming operations after experimenting with incorporating simple games into TikTok. Similarly, Snapchat announced a reduction in its game-related investments. However, Netflix continues to explore gaming by offering free games to its subscribers and developing a cloud game streaming service.
YouTube already has a significant collection of gaming content, including livestreams and prerecorded videos. In 2015, Google attempted to create a dedicated app for gaming content, called YouTube Gaming. However, due to confusion among users, the app was discontinued in 2019.
Google’s Gaming Initiatives and Google Stadia
Google has had a mixed track record with gaming initiatives. While the Android platform thrives with a diverse range of games available for download from the Google Play Store, its high-profile game streaming service, Stadia, struggled and was eventually discontinued after three years. Despite this setback, Google acknowledged the potential to apply Stadia’s technology to other areas such as YouTube, Google Play, and Augmented Reality (AR) projects.
The integration of Stadia with YouTube was one of Google’s initial goals for its game streaming service. They introduced features like Crowd Play, enabling viewers to join and play games alongside livestreamers. Although Google briefly sold Stadia technology to other companies for their game streaming services, it ultimately abandoned this initiative along with Stadia itself.
The monetization strategy for Playables remains unclear. However, for a platform like YouTube, where user engagement is vital, the introduction of interactive games could provide significant benefits.
With YouTube reportedly testing the addition of interactive games through its “Playables” feature, the platform aims to further expand its gaming content and engage users in new ways. While details remain limited, this move reflects YouTube’s ongoing focus on gaming and presents potential opportunities for increased user attention and monetization. The introduction of Playables could mark an exciting development for both gamers and content creators on the platform.