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YouTube’s latest experiment is playing games

YouTube’s latest experiment is playing games


YouTube is testing playable games with select users, the first new Google gaming initiative since the now-defunct Stadia.

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YouTube logo on an abstract background
Illustration: Alex Castro / The Verge

YouTube is trying out games as its next experimental offering. The company is adding a new “Playables” section on the site that will include games that can be played on both the desktop website and mobile devices. Playables will only appear for “a limited number of users to start,” and there was no list of game titles published at this time.

9to5Google reports that one of the games to grace the new YouTube Playables experiment includes Stack Bounce, which involves a 3D ball bouncing on top of rings you must smash through with well-timed clicks. If you’ve heard of the game before, it’s because Google already offers it on its minigames service, GameSnacks.

To check if you’re included in the games experiment, look for a new “Playables” section on YouTube alongside content on the home feed. Bringing games to YouTube means the website has yet another form of entertainment entering the brand, joining shortform videos, movies, video game streams, music, TV service, podcasts, and more.

Stack Bounce on Google’s GameSnacks website.
Stack Bounce on Google’s GameSnacks website.
Image: Google

YouTube isn’t the only streaming video platform dabbling in gaming. Netflix is making its own push into video games, and social media app TikTok also has games available for a limited number of people and has experimented with allowing streamers to play with their viewers as well as a live trivia contest with cash prizes.

Google’s most significant gaming push evaporated when it discontinued its cloud streaming service, Stadia, in January, and plans for Nvidia-powered Chromebooks appear to be canceled. Some of Google’s most-played games come when presented in a place people run into them online, like on Google’s homepage with Doodles. If games start appearing on YouTube as users scroll, there’s a good chance someone will play them.