Youtube Jumps on the Gaming Bandwagon

by July 5, 2023 0 comments

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, YouTube is currently developing a new feature called “Playables” that aims to introduce interactive games to its video platform. Google reportedly sent an email to its employees, inviting them to test the feature. The games will be accessible either through the YouTube app on iOS and Android or via the desktop browser.

While the report primarily focuses on one game called Stack Bounce, described as an arcade game where players try to break layers of bricks with a bouncing ball, it is difficult to draw a definitive comparison without visual evidence. It appears to bear some resemblance to the classic Atari game Breakout.

YouTube declined to confirm the existence of the initiative in an official statement. Alex McQuiston, a spokesperson for YouTube, acknowledged the company’s ongoing focus on gaming but refrained from making any announcements at that time. McQuiston mentioned that YouTube constantly experiments with new features, suggesting that Playables may be part of these ongoing experiments.

The development of Playables by YouTube coincides with other social media companies scaling back their investments in gaming. For instance, ByteDance reportedly downsized its gaming operations after initial attempts to introduce simple games to TikTok. Similarly, Snap announced a reduction in its gaming investments. In contrast, Netflix continues its efforts to include games as part of its subscription service and is also exploring cloud game streaming.

YouTube already offers a vast library of gaming content, including live streams and prerecorded videos. In 2015, Google launched a separate app called YouTube Gaming to cater specifically to gaming content, but it was discontinued in 2019 due to brand confusion.

Google has pursued various gaming initiatives in the past, but its success has been inconsistent. Android hosts a thriving gaming ecosystem with numerous titles available for download from the Google Play Store. However, Google’s high-profile game streaming attempt, Stadia, struggled and was eventually discontinued just over three years after its launch.

During the announcement of Stadia’s shutdown, Phil Harrison, the vice president and general manager of the service, mentioned the potential for integrating Stadia’s technology with other Google platforms such as YouTube, Google Play, and augmented reality (AR) endeavors.

Although Stadia initially incorporated features like Crowd Play, allowing viewers to join and play games alongside YouTube livestreamers, Google ceased this initiative when it abandoned Stadia. While it remains unclear how YouTube intends to monetize Playables, the interactive games could potentially enhance user engagement, which is crucial for the platform’s success given its focus on capturing and retaining attention.

This article is written by Gaurav Advit.

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