YouTube Enters the Gaming Arena

YouTube is adding games to its platform, through a feature called "Playables," but only for its Premium members.

YouTube is adding games to its platform, through a feature called “Playables,” but only for its Premium members.

The feature was first tested with a few users in September. If you’re a Premium subscriber, you might have seen a notification about it recently. The best part? You can play these games directly on YouTube’s mobile or desktop app, no extra downloads or installs needed.

Now, don’t expect anything too hardcore. The games are pretty casual and fun, with titles like Angry Birds Showdown, Brain Out, and some classic arcade games. There’s a catch, though – these games might just be a temporary treat. YouTube has mentioned they’ll be available until March 28th, 2024. If you’re curious, you can find them under the “Playables” section in the Explore tab.

YouTube isn’t the first non-gaming tech company to dip its toes into the gaming world, and the journey’s been a bit rocky for some. Remember Google’s Stadia? That got shut down in January. Amazon recently scaled back its free games division, and TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is laying off a chunk of its gaming unit staff.

Despite some setbacks in the industry, other tech giants like Meta and Netflix are still exploring gaming. Meta’s been working on Instant Games for about seven years, and Netflix is trying its hand at mobile games, even eyeing cloud gaming down the line.

YouTube frequently tests new features on its Premium users before making them permanent. Alongside Playables, they’re also trying out a conversational AI feature for video queries. It seems like Playables is more about adding value to the Premium subscription than drawing hardcore gamers.

After all, with the recent price hike for Premium and similar increases from Netflix, Apple, and Amazon, these platforms are finding new ways to keep subscribers hooked. While Playables might not be the sole reason to get YouTube Premium, they could be a sweet little bonus that convinces some users to stick around a bit longer.

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