YouTube is expanding into gaming, at least for its premium members. Premium users get access to a collection of online games that may be accessed via the mobile or desktop apps. The experimental function, dubbed “Playables,” was originally made available to a small group of users in September. However, YouTube Premium members received a message last week about Playables and an opportunity to test it out, as reported by Droid-Life. Those who sign up will be able to play a total of 37 mini-games that reside entirely within YouTube – no need to download or install anything.
The games aren’t too difficult or ‘out there’ – they include crowd-pleasers like Angry Birds Showdown, Brain Out, Daily Solitaire, The Daily Crossword, and a variety of arcade games. And they might not be here for long. The games would be available on YouTube Premium until March 28th, 2024, according to the announcement. For the time being, Premium users may access the whole game catalogue via the Explore tab’s “Playables” section.
This is not the first attempt for YouTube to join the gaming world
YouTube joins a long series of non-gaming tech businesses attempting to enter the game market, often with mixed success. After years of speculation, Google officially discontinued its Stadia programme in January. Amazon terminated around 130 positions in its free games segment just a few weeks ago. Furthermore, it declared that it will “refocus” its activities. In addition, TikTok teased a “major push” in gaming in 2021, only for owner ByteDance to reveal on Monday that it would be laying off about 1,000 employees in its gaming arm.
However, despite a less-than-stellar track record, other internet giants are venturing into gaming. Meta’s experiment with Instant Games has been in the works for around seven years; the platform just released a new distribution mechanism that allows creators to upload beta versions of their games straight on Facebook. Netflix has been publishing games solely on mobile (with mixed reviews) and intends to extend into cloud games — but it will likely be some time before they are available to the public.
Additional AI functions for the premium users
YouTube’s trials are nothing new; the network frequently tests features on its premium users before choosing whether to permanently incorporate them. Aside from Playables, Premium members may sign up to test out YouTube’s conversational AI function, which allows viewers to ask questions about videos they’re watching.
YouTube’s Playables appear to be more of a gimmick for its paying users than an appeal to hardcore gamers. This summer, the business upped the price of its Premium plan by $2, joining Netflix, Apple, Amazon, and others in raising the price of their streaming subscriptions. As these services become more expensive, some consumers will inevitably discontinue their memberships. While it’s difficult to see someone signing up for YouTube Premium purely for the Playables games, they may persuade some hesitant customers to remain for longer.