Playables: YouTube Ventures in Gaming

Now being tested in the YouTube app, Playables is a new element launched by YouTube pushing it into the games sphere. 

As explained by YouTube: “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.”

YouTube’s gaming plans were first reported by Wall Street Journal reporting back in June with news that YouTube was experimenting with in-app games. For now, there’s not much detail available at present as to the games that will be available in the app, though one of the rumored titles is Stack Bounce, a simple tap-and-play game.

Users will also be able to view and control their Playables history and saved game progress within their “History” tab, which suggests that at least some of the games might have more in-depth gameplay elements that would require users to save where they’re at.

Playables seems like a natural progression for the video platform with gaming content generating over 4 billion hours of watch time in the app in 2022. Additionally, given the already-present, and active gaming focus in the app, it makes some sense to see YouTube branching into direct game access, which could hold strong appeal with its user community.

Having said that, in-stream games aren’t always received well. Netflix’s move into mobile games hasn’t seen big response, with only around 1% of the app’s user base engaging with its game offerings, though more recently, it has re-focused its gaming push to create more games based on popular Netflix shows, which could hold more appeal.

With customized, YouTube-specific titles, the platform is launching a small-scale test of Playables to begin with.  

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