Following YouTube’s pushes into music, television, gaming livestreams, and podcasts, the service has now begun public testing of its “Playables” initiative, which adds games to YouTube.
The existence of Playables on YouTube was first reported earlier this year as “a product for playing online games.” At the time, few details were available, as it was only being tested by employees.
The only other tidbit reported was that one of the games being tested was “Stack Bounce,” a title that is also available to play through Google’s GameSnacks.
Today, YouTube has updated its ever-rotating list of tests and experimental features to announce that Playables are rolling out now to a “limited number of users to start.” If you’re among that group, your YouTube homepage will have a new “Playables” section.
[September 5, 2023] Testing “Playables” on YouTube: We’re starting to test a new experience on YouTube called “Playables”. Playables are games that can be played directly on YouTube on both desktop and mobile devices. If you’re part of this experiment, you’ll see a section on YouTube called “Playables” that will appear alongside other content on the home feed. We’re testing this with a limited number of users to start. You can view and control your Playables history and saved game progress in YouTube History.
Unfortunately, the company doesn’t provide any more details about what types of games are included as part of the Playables program, such as whether we should expect to see more advanced titles than GameSnacks offers or how interested game developers can get involved.
If you’re one of the lucky few who has access to YouTube Playables, we’d love to hear more about what’s available.
For YouTube, this move makes some sense as gaming (not counting game streamers) is one of the few forms of media not currently provided by the platform. Having grown significantly since its origins as a simple video service, YouTube deals in live television, movie rentals, music, podcasts, gaming entertainment, and now playable games.
That said, the scope of Google’s gaming ambitions here will undoubtedly be a significant factor in how YouTube Playables are received. With Google Stadia having shut down earlier this year, a more serious gaming effort from YouTube (and therefore from Google) may be received with skepticism in a way that a simpler, HTML5-based games portal might not.
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