Google Reportedly Testing Online Games for YouTube

YouTube could go from a place to watch others play video games to a gaming platform.

The streaming company has begun testing an online gaming product, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Friday (June 23), citing an email to employees at Google, YouTube’s parent.

According to the report, Google recently invited workers to test Playables, a YouTube product that lets users play games on mobile devices or desktops.

The WSJ noted that YouTube is already popular among gamers, competing for their attention with Amazon’s Twitch in the livestreamed-gaming market. A company blog post said YouTube received more than 2 trillion gaming-related views in 2022. 

“Gaming has long been a focus at YouTube,” a company spokesperson told PYMNTS. “We’re always experimenting with new features, but have nothing to announce right now.”

Last year, Google announced plans to wind down Stadia, its video game streaming service, saying in a blog entry that while the platform “was built on a strong technology foundation, it hasn’t gained the traction with users that we expected.”

The news comes at a moment when many platforms are embracing streaming gaming, while other players — Amazon included — have reconsidered their streaming video game strategies.

On an earnings call in April, Netflix Co-CEO Greg Peters took analysts’ questions about the progress of the streaming giant’s video gaming efforts, which Netflix has played close to the vest as it examines what works and how it can attract new subscribers via gaming.

Peters declined to give specific numbers about subscriber retention, Peters said, “I’m not going to give you those specific points,” but noted the company has fielded 55 games on the platform with 40 more due out this year. 

He argued games could be an inducement to sign up for the streaming service, and that the company is not looking for ways to monetize games themselves, but rather use them to build Netflix’s brand.

“The best thing for us to do is really focus on the core initiative, which for us right now is how do we bring games and games based on our IP to our members and fans of that IP directly,” Peters told analysts. 

Meanwhile, YouTube — like many streaming services — has upped its subscription prices, a decision that could haunt it as consumers are forced to make tough, inflation-driven choices.

According to the April 2023 “Subscription Commerce Readiness Report,” a collaboration between PYMNTS and, cost was the largest driver for cancellations, with 56% of consumers ending a subscription in the prior 12 months for this reason.