YouTube wants a slice of the gaming world

Youtube User interface

Youtube will give Premium users on the platform the opportunity to play a collection of online games directly through either the mobile app or desktop app. The “Playables”, as Youtube calls this experimental feature, were initially introduced to a limited audience in September. YouTube recently notified Premium subscribers about Playables, inviting them to give it a go. Those who choose to participate can enjoy 37 mini-games seamlessly integrated into YouTube, eliminating the need for any downloads or installations.

The lineup features popular titles like Angry Birds Showdown, Brain Out, Daily Solitaire, The Daily Crossword, and several other arcade games. However, their presence might be temporary. According to YouTube Premium’s notification, these games are accessible until March 28th, 2024. Currently, Premium members can access the complete game library in the Explore tab under the “Playables” section.

YouTube is the latest addition to the growing roster of non-gaming tech companies venturing into the gaming world. Something that dind’t always go according to plan. Google officially terminated its Stadia service in January. Recently, Amazon made headlines by downsizing over 130 positions in its free games division, signaling a strategic shift. In 2021, TikTok created buzz with a promised “major push” into gaming, only to have ByteDance, its parent company, announce on Monday that approximately 1,000 employees in its gaming unit would be laid off.

On the other hand, Meta has been working on its Instant Games experiment for about seven years. This month, the platform introduced a fresh distribution approach that enables developers to release beta versions of their games directly on Facebook. Meanwhile, Netflix has been rolling out games exclusively on mobile, with reviews showing a mix of opinions. The streaming giant aims to venture into cloud games, but it may take some time before they become accessible to the public.
Youtube loves to experiment. For example, besides Playables, Premium members have the option to participate in testing YouTube’s conversational AI feature, allowing users to pose questions about the videos they’re currently watching.

Of course serios gamers won’t be attracted to Playables, more of a perk for the platform’s subscribers. With the company recently raising the price of its Premium plan by $2, alongside similar price hikes from streaming competitors like Netflix, Apple, and Amazon, there’s a potential for users to reconsider their subscriptions. While it might be a stretch to think someone would subscribe to YouTube Premium exclusively for Playables games, these offerings could sway some undecided users to stick around for an extended period.

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