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Report: YouTube's instant-play games reach public testing

YouTube and video games are already tight-knit, and the arrival of Playables may only deepen that relationship.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

September 7, 2023

2 Min Read
Logo for video website YouTube.

According to 9to5google, YouTube is now undergoing public testing for its instantly playable video game feature. 

Earlier in the summer, we relayed reports that Google was looking at its video platform as an avenue into games following the collapse of Google Stadia. Known as "Playables," the feature will allow games to be played immediately on YouTube, via browser or an Android or iOS app.

Days ago, the list of experimental features and tests on YouTube was updated to include Playables. It's reportedly available to a limited number of users, and it's presently unclear what criteria (if any) there is to participate. 

That aforementioned listing notes that Playables will appear on a user's home feed, and users will be able to access both played games and their individual save progress via their YouTube history. At time of writing, it's also unclear what games outside of Stack Bounce are being used to test it, or when a larger rollout may occur.

Google will be done with video games when it says it's done

Beyond Playables and the now defunct Google Stadia, the tech company has made clear it wants to stay in video games however it can. Those efforts have taken different forms, such as helping out publishers of live-service games and allowing the Stadia controller to be used following the death of the streaming service.

In the case of quick-to-play games, Google already has an in with the HTML5 platform GameSnacks, which is said to be a big hit in countries such as Brazil and China.

Nestling quick-to-play (or instant-play) games within YouTube makes a degree of sense, as the platform and video games have become so enmeshed together in recent years. Even if the featured titles end up just being previously released Android games, pairing Playables and YouTube creates a link in users minds that makes it worth revisiting beyond looking up trailers or video essays.

Whatever other plans it makes, Google's forays into the games space haven't gone unnoticed. Recently, ex-Sony Interactive president Shawn Layden referred to the tech company, along with contemporaries Netflix and Amazon, as unwelcome interlopers. 

"The entry of non-endemics," said Layden, are like "the barbarians at the gate. [...] We have Google, Netflix, Apple and Amazon wanting to get piece and trying to disrupt out industry."

Layden said he hoped the industry would "disrupt ourselves" without any involvement from the aforementioned tech giants. With how easily consoles and developers alike embraced YouTube as part of their ecosystem, Google's growing presence and persistence may just be an inevitability.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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