YouTube has expanded into gaming for its paid subscribers. Premium users now have access to a collection of online games that can be played directly on the mobile app or desktop app. Referred to as “Playables,” the experimental feature was first introduced to select users in September. According to Droid-Life, Premium subscribers received a notification last week, inviting them to try out Playables. Those who opt in can play a total of 37 mini-games that exist within YouTube without the need for downloading or installing.
The selection of games includes popular choices such as Angry Birds Showdown, Brain Out, Daily Solitaire, The Daily Crossword, and various arcade games. However, the availability of these games is only guaranteed until March 28th, 2024, as mentioned in YouTube Premium’s notification. Premium members can access the full library of games in the “Playables” section within the Explore tab.
YouTube is joining several non-gaming tech companies in their ventures into gaming, despite mixed results. Google recently shut down its Stadia service, while Amazon reduced its free games division and refocused its efforts. Similarly, TikTok’s gaming plans took a hit as its parent company, ByteDance, announced significant layoffs in its gaming unit.
Despite past challenges, other tech companies are still pursuing gaming initiatives. Meta’s Instant Games, developed over seven years, recently introduced a new distribution model on Facebook. Netflix released exclusive mobile games with mixed reviews and aims to expand into cloud gaming in the future.
YouTube frequently tests features on its paid subscribers before considering permanent integration. In addition to Playables, Premium members can also participate in testing YouTube’s conversational AI feature, which allows users to ask questions about videos they are viewing.
YouTube’s Playables offer additional value to its paid subscribers. With the recent increase in the Premium plan’s price, YouTube aims to retain users by introducing these games. While it may not be the sole reason for subscribing, Playables could influence some users to continue their subscriptions for a longer duration.