An intriguing article from The Wall Street Journal discusses a new “YouTube Playables” feature that is reportedly now being tested. One YouTube-related gaming service, Stadia, was recently discontinued by Google, however it only offered AAA games that were streamed frame-by-frame online. “YouTube Playable” would follow Facebook’s model more, providing more informal, straightforward games that play in a browser. Think of Angry Birds or Farmville on YouTube.
Stack Bounce, a brick-breaking game with a smartphone app that can also be played on the web, is one such game from the study. In my opinion, these are still “Flash games”—simple, 2D, addicting games played in a browser. I am aware that the Flash platform has been defunct for years.
Flash-style YouTube Playable games
Who would want casual games on YouTube, exactly? According to the article, YouTube “is already a well-liked gaming destination and competes with Twitch from Amazon for viewers of live-streamed content. The offering would increase YouTube’s market share by hosting a variety of online Playable games. Do people use Twitch to play Flash-style games? When you look at a “time watched” game tracker for Twitch, all of the AAA titles that Google chose not to include when it shut down Stadia are there. Everything in the top 50, with the exception of gambling games, is a AAA title.
Things might not be best to view things from the perspective of the customer. Assume you are a Google executive: Given that YouTube has already become the de facto standard for online video, most companies’ “eternal growth at any cost” philosophy is put to the test. Since video cannot be completely dominated (you already have a TikTok clone), YouTube may need to diversify into entirely other industries in order to increase year-over-year stats. It’s all about finding anything and everything that will lengthen visitors’ visits to the website. If people visit your website to be entertained, why not also provide them with a few YouTube Playable games to while away the hours? This appears more like a Facebook competitor.
Is YouTube Playables the NEXT Google Stadia?
Easily be Played and Shared Between Users
YouTube is the closest thing Google has to a social network, with its comments, accounts, and “community” tabs that are present on channels. At one point, there was even person-to-person texting. By applying that reasoning, you could claim that duplicating Facebook’s assignment makes some sense in terms of raw numbers. According to the study, games should “easily be played and shared between users,” which sounds very Facebook-like. A strong monetization approach would include a video ad playing prior to each game and a 30 percent cut of in-game purchases.
The Wall Street Journal was informed by Google PR that “Gaming has long been a focus at YouTube,” but this did little to dispel the rumor. Although we’re always testing out new features, we have nothing to share.