YouTube is reportedly working on a new online gaming feature called “Youtube Playables” that might bring interactive games to the video site. In an email to its staff, 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 piece; 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 determine if it’s similar to the Atari classic Breakout.
As several social media corporations cut down on prior 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 subscribers, 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 advent of YouTube Gaming in 2015, Google attempted to separate this material into its own app, but it was shut down in 2019.
However, if Youtube Playables is released to the public, it is not clear on how YouTube intends to monetize the Youtube Playables. The games are likely to be free to play with in-game commercials for monetization if the service is there to make up for lost advertising revenue. Although there may be more tactics at play, some sort of monetization push should be anticipated.