Google is looking at online games as a new possible source of income for YouTube, according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal. The video hosting platform has reportedly invited employees to test a new product called Playables, which gives users access to online games right on YouTube itself. Based on the internal email the Journal saw, it wouldn't even matter what device they're using: Apparently, the games are accessible both on mobile and on desktop.
Users will be able to play them on the YouTube website using a web browser or on the app, whether on an Android or an iOS phone. While the report insinuates that there are currently several games available for testing, it only mentioned Stack Bounce in particular. It's an ad-supported arcade game that gets players to smash layers of bricks with a bouncing ball. As the publication notes, YouTube already earns money from gaming livestreams, but this product will give it another way to generate revenue from the industry in the midst of a decline in advertising spending.
While Google failed to grow its defunct Stadia games streaming service and ultimately shut it down, this endeavor is a different thing altogether. YouTube already has a massive audience regularly visiting the site, so getting eyes on the new product wouldn't be a problem. Playables is perhaps more akin to Netflix's gaming product that gives its paying users access to casual games on mobile. Netflix has big ambitions for its gaming initiative, as well, and is reportedly working on an expansion that goes beyond mobile devices by testing TV games that use phones as controllers.