YouTube Takes On Mobile Gaming With Free Playables Catalog Launch

YT Playables
You go to YouTube to watch videos, but Google hopes you might want to play some games while you're there, too. A raft of online games within YouTube is being rolled out widely after being tested with YouTube Premium subscribers over the last few months. The "Playables" collection includes some 75 games, including well-known titles like Angry Birds Showdown and Cut the Rope. The games are quick to load, simple to play, and in uncharacteristic fashion for YouTube, they are free of advertising (for now).

Google began testing Playables late last year among Premium subscribers, and it's now expanding to everyone on YouTube. The catalog of games might not appear for everyone right away, but we've had no trouble accessing them from various devices. If you're not seeing the games, you can find the full catalog here, or check the Explore menu on YouTube—Playables should be near the bottom of the list.

YouTube currently recommends the HTML5 games in a few places on the home page, but it's possible Google could offer more links to games. While the company's primary goal is to keep you watching content (and ads), breaking up videos with a lightweight casual game could keep people engaged with the YouTube app for longer. Some of the games were clearly designed with in-app purchases in mind, but none of those are implemented in the Playables version. 

YT Mob Control HTML5
The available titles lean heavily toward casual gameplay.

Playables are available on the web, as well as in the Android and iOS apps. When playing YouTube games, you'll be able to sync your progress across devices and record your high scores. Google notes that not everyone will see Playables immediately, and it will continue expanding availability over the coming months. Once you do get access, Google has included a "send feedback" option in the menu, which it hopes players will use.

The games run live from the web, so there are no downloads. This, along with the lack of payment or advertising, has allowed Google to bypass Apple's stringent rules on App Store commission. However, it seems likely that ads will come to Playables at some point. Alternatively, Google could just get bored and leave Playables to languish until it is finally shuttered in a few years. This is Google, after all.