Google is reportedly adding online games to YouTube

A new report claims 'Playables' are coming to YouTube, with this feature enabling instant online play.
youtube google online games

Google is looking to add online games to YouTube, according to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal. The feature – internally known as ‘Playables’ – is allegedly in the process of being tested, with the intention of it launching publicly for PC and mobile in future.

Per the WSJ, games on the platform would be able to launch instantly, serving a similar function to videos. A single title, known as Stack Bounce, was revealed in the report. This was described as an arcade-style game where players will bounce a ball into brick walls, eventually bringing them down – seemingly a Breakout clone.

It’s reported to be the first ‘Playable’ among a host of many, as YouTube looks to refresh its appeal with new reasons to return to the website. Notably, a similar technique was deployed by Facebook in the 2000s – the era in which FarmVille gained a foothold.

In recent times, Netflix has also launched a major foray into gaming, as a means to encourage new subscribers, and provide added benefits for existing platform users.

Whether Google is pursuing a similar path is currently unknown, but regardless, the WSJ report reveals a curious endeavour.

Read: Google Stadia is shutting down, refunds to be offered

Google has a rocky history with video game implementation, having launched the high-profile game streaming service Google Stadia in 2019. After failing to gain a foothold in the fast-moving cloud gaming market, Stadia was shut down in early 2023, just four years after release.

As noted by Eurogamer, the initial pitch for Stadia was ‘full YouTube integration’ in a unique form – and these plans may serve as the basis for YouTube’s reported Playables. Originally, the plan was for users to be able to view a game trailer or Let’s Play footage, and then hop into that game to check it out for themselves.

This didn’t come to pass, as Stadia struggled from launch, but Playables may be a spiritual successor to this idea, as Google attempts to realise its ambitions in the gaming space.

In response to the WSJ report, Google confirmed gaming had long been a major focus at YouTube, with new features constantly undergoing experimentation. It did not confirm the existence of Playables.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.