Will YouTube Dominate the Play? 

YouTube Gaming - DN 1

YouTube Playables gaming expansion, a new product offering access to online games, as part of its expansion beyond video hosting, aiming to enhance user engagement and diversify revenue streams. 

  • YouTube’s internal testing of Playables demonstrates its ambition to venture into the gaming industry and cater to evolving user preferences. 
  • With billions of monthly users, YouTube seeks to establish itself as a leading platform for both video content and interactive gaming experiences. 

Today, YouTube, the popular video hosting platform owned by Google, is venturing into the realm of online gaming with its latest internal testing of a product called Playables. This move signifies YouTube’s ambition to expand beyond video hosting and venture into the world of interactive gaming experiences that can be easily played and shared among users. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, an email obtained reveals that Google has invited its employees to test Playables, a product that grants users access to a selection of games on both mobile devices and desktop computers. Among the games available for testing is Stack Bounce, an arcade game where players aim to demolish layers of bricks using a bouncing ball. Users can play these games instantly through the YouTube Playables gaming expansion website on web browsers or via the YouTube app on Android and iOS devices. 

With billions of monthly users, YouTube is already a favored destination for gamers, competing with platforms like Amazon’s Twitch for livestreamed gaming content. The introduction of Playables will enable YouTube to further establish its presence in the gaming industry, as CEO Neal Mohan seeks new avenues of growth amid a slowdown in advertising spending, stated by Miles Kruppa.  

Although Google has encountered mixed success in game distribution in the past, the internal testing of Playables demonstrates the company’s commitment to refining its gaming offerings. Details about Google’s specific plans for monetizing the product remain undisclosed. However, the ability to download mobile games through the Google Play app store on Android devices suggests that Google may adopt a similar revenue-sharing model for Playables. 

Simple and shareable games, like those being tested for Playables, have experienced moments of popularity on platforms such as Tencent’s WeChat and Meta Platforms-owned Facebook. Nevertheless, some developers have struggled to replicate initial success with their viral games, facing challenges in sustaining long-term engagement. 

The consumer spending on mobile gaming, which includes numerous casual games available for free with advertisements, experienced a decline last year, reflecting a broader industry slowdown following a period of pandemic-induced growth. Notably, Google announced the discontinuation of its consumer-gaming service, Stadia, last year, as it failed to attract a sufficient user base. However, the closure of Stadia opened opportunities for Google to leverage its technology in other areas, including YouTube. 

YouTube spokesperson told WSJ, “Gaming has long been a focus at YouTube. We’re always experimenting with new features but have nothing to announce right now.” This suggests that YouTube recognizes the potential of Playables to enhance user experience and cater to the evolving preferences of its massive audience. 

YouTube’s exploration of online games presents an exciting prospect for the platform to augment user engagement and diversify its revenue streams. As the internal testing of Playables progresses, YouTube aims to leverage its substantial user base and firmly establish itself as a leading platform for video content and gaming experiences. 

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