Google is testing YouTube games, with select mobile and desktop titles appearing in a new Playables section for participating users.
The test launched on September 5, 2023, with a Google support document defining Playables as “games that can be played directly on YouTube on both desktop and mobile devices.” You must be included in the experiment to see the new Playables section on your YouTube home feed.
Google maintains a YouTube Labs page at youtube.com/new where you can sign up for experimental features that may or may not launch publicly, but the gaming test is currently unavailable there.
Google automatically included a subset of YouTube users in this experiment. “We’re testing this with a limited number of users to start,” reads the support page. “You can view and control your Playables history and saved game progress in YouTube history.”
We heard whispers of Playables earlier this year, but reports framed it as a service for playing online games. At the time, Stack Bounce was one of the playables available for testing. The search giant hasn’t provided further details about the Playables initiative, so we don’t know which games are available and on what devices.
This is Google’s first gaming effort after shutting down Stadia, its cloud-streaming gaming service.
Guess what other video-streaming platform is dabbling in gaming? That’s right, Netflix. Currently, users can download select mobile games to play for free with a Netflix subscription. But that’s not all, as Netflix is also testing cloud-streamed games in the United States and Canada that can be played on less-capable platforms such as smart TVs and Netflix-enabled TVs.