Google May Add Interactive Games To YouTube, Called 'Playables'

An email Google sent to its employees detailed a potential feature called “Playables” being tested at YouTube that would introduce interactive games to the social video platform via desktop or the app on iOS and Android.

YouTube has declined to confirm the existence of the possible tests, originally reported on by The Wall Street Journal, which described one possible game being integrated into the feature called “Stack Bounce,” a brick-smashing arcade game.

“Gaming has been a long focus at YouTube,” said Google spokesperson Alex McQuestion when asked about “Playables.” “We’re always experimenting with new features, but have nothing to announce right now,”

Google hinted at future gaming initiatives when it shut down its three-year-old cloud gaming service Stadia last September, writing in a blog post that “the underlying technology platform that powers Stadia” could be applied “across other parts of Google like YouTube, Google Play, and our Augmented Reality efforts,” as well as its “industry partners.”

If Playables becomes a reality for YouTube, it is possible that Google would reuse Stadia code to power it, along with discontinued Stadia features like “Crowd Play,” which let viewers join and play games alongside YouTube livestreamers.

Prior to Stadia, Google discontinued “YouTube Gaming” in 2019, acknowledging in 2018 that the four-year-old service caused “a lot of brand confusion,” but adding that the company still cares “very much about gaming -- that we want gaming on Youtube.”

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