YouTube Premium subscribers can now find “Playables” through new gaming hub

YouTube is introducing its Premium subscribers to a new hub filled with casual games. The platform’s paying customers can now access Playables, a long-rumored development that will expand YouTube’s presence as a game distributor.

Playables offers a wide range of games across multiple genres. Launch titles include some puzzles (such as The Daily Crossword), card games (Daily Solitaire), and mobile classics (Angry Birds Showdown). All of the games can be played in the YouTube app, with no additional downloads required. The library is clearly catering to casual gamers; it includes several games that utilize the popular open-source Phaser engine.

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The arrival of Playables among Premium subscribers comes five months after the Wall Street Journal reported that YouTube was testing an in-platform gaming hub that would go live on both mobile and desktop devices. Through Playables, YouTube looked to capitalize on the popularity of mobile titles like Garena Free Fire and PUBG Mobile, which rank among the most-played games in Asia.

Playables rolled out to a wider audience in November, when YouTube sent a notification to its Premium subscribers. The platform told its paying customers that they could navigate to the Explore tab in order to find a 37-game library

. The Playables test is one of several experiments YouTube is running among its Premium users, who pay a monthly fee in order to remove ads and access exclusive features. YouTube’s New tab details its ongoing tests, several of which are informed by AI.

By adding Playables to that mix, YouTube is looking to compete with rivals like Netflix and TikTok, which have made their own forays into the universe of casual gaming. But YouTube’s move is not without risk. Layoffs have recently hit the gaming divisions at tech giants like Amazon and ByteDance, and Google’s own attempts to develop gaming hubs have been hit-or-miss. In 2021, Google shuttered Stadia, a hub that had been dedicated to game developers.

By next year, YouTube will have gathered more data related to its latest experiment. Playables will be playable until March 28, 2024, so Premium subscribers who want to get into the game shouldn’t hesitate to press start.

Published by
Sam Gutelle

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