Playable Games Added On YouTube’s Video Platform


According to The Wall Street Journal, YouTube is working on a new feature called “Playables” that could bring interactive games to the video platform. In an email to its employees, Google reportedly described the feature and asked them to test it out. Games may be accessible through the desktop browser or the YouTube app for iOS and Android.


Only one game, Stack Bounce, is mentioned in the WSJ report; it is described as “an arcade game in which players attempt to smash layers of bricks with a bouncing ball.” Without seeing screenshots, it’s difficult to tell if it’s similar to the Atari classic Breakout.


YouTube declined to confirm the initiative’s existence in a statement. “Gaming has long been a focus at YouTube,” said spokesman Alex McQuiston. Although we constantly test out new features, we have nothing to share at the moment.


As some social media companies cut back on previous investments in gaming, YouTube is testing Playables. According to reports, ByteDance aggressively reduced the size of its gaming division last year after trying out simple game integration with TikTok in the past. Snap also announced at the same time that it would reduce its investment in gaming. However, Netflix continues to push for free game inclusion with subscriptions, and the business is also developing a cloud game streaming service.


YouTube already has a sizable collection of gaming videos, both livestreams and recorded ones. Even with the launch of YouTube Gaming in 2015, Google attempted to separate this content into its own app, but it was discontinued in 2019 after the company acknowledged it had “a lot of negative effects.”


Over the years, Google has launched a number of gaming-related initiatives, but results have been inconsistent. A thriving gaming ecosystem of apps that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store is present on Android. But Stadia, Google’s well-publicized attempt to break into the booming game streaming market, failed and was eventually shut down a little over three years after it was first introduced.

When Stadia was shut down, its vice president and general manager, Phil Harrison, stated that the company saw “clear opportunities to apply [Stadia’s] technology across other parts of Google like YouTube, Google Play, and our Augmented Reality (AR) efforts.”


One of Google’s initial sales points for Stadia was its compatibility with YouTube, and eventually it released features like Crowd Play that allowed viewers to join in and play games with YouTube livestreamers. In spite of briefly selling its Stadia technology to other businesses for their game streaming services, Google ended this project along with Stadia itself.

It’s not clear how Playables will be made money on YouTube. However, it’s easy to see how interactive games could be beneficial for a platform like YouTube, where attention is crucial to its success.