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YouTube launches in-app Playables arcade

The video platform is experimenting with instant and quick-to-play games for users on its browser and phone apps.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

May 28, 2024

1 Min Read
Screenshot of YouTube Playables games such as Angry Birds Showdown and Brainout.
Image via YouTube.

Video platform YouTube is entering games through a new avenue: a free arcade of games that can be played directly in the app.

Dubbed "Playables," the feature was first reported last summer shortly ahead of public testing. After a limited rollout in select countries, it's now getting a full launch over the next few months.

At the moment, the arcade will have over 75 games that are instantly playable whether on computer, iOS, or Android. Players can even share games with friends using the three-dot "More" menu, and save game progress.

According to YouTube, launch titles will include Cut the Rope, Angry Birds Showdown, and Tomb of the Mask.

YouTube's Playables are ready, but does the world want to play?

Billed as a "fun, interactive way to experience YouTube," Playables follows a recent trend of games from non-game platforms. Over the past year, LinkedIn, Spotify, and the New York Times have launched free games for casual players during their off-time.

YouTube has an advantage in that the tech company is already embedded into game culture: developer diaries and reveal trailers are consistently on the platform, to say nothing of the Let's Play community and livestreams for awards ceremonies.

For parent company Google, this gives the tech giant another foot in the industry. While it still has the Google Play Store, it lost Google Stadia with last year's shutdown.

Instant and quick-to-play games may be more of Google's speed as opposed to full-on cloud streaming. Right now, its biggest obstacle will be to not get buried by other outlets or platforms trying to make a niche for themselves in the market.

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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