Despite creating the incredible Chrome dinosaur game, Google's gaming pedigree is mixed. Its cloud gaming service, Google Stadia, died in January this year and had been on life support long before then. Now, Google has the gaming itch once again. This time utilising one of its biggest existing brands, YouTube.
According to the Wall Street Journal Testing is reportedly underway for so-called YouTube 'Playables'. It may seem a slightly left-field entry into gaming but maybe this is a better idea. YouTube does already have plenty of gaming creators with massive audiences, and its own YouTube Live streaming service which is again dominated by gaming.
So what exactly is a Playable? Well, it seems like the Playables service will feature a host of mobile-style games (the Playables) that can be played in the YouTube browser and easily shared with friends. Initial tests are for a Breakout-style game called Stack Bounce, which is not exactly innovative.
This seems a much more mobile and casual-friendly approach than Stadia. Think less Tears of the Kingdom and more Farmville or Angry Birds. It sounds a bit like Netflix's game offerings, I predict serious gamers will likely be sticking to traditional platforms for now.
It may sound almost like an extension of the Google Play Store but the Playables will be based on YouTube itself (like the Chrome dinosaur game) and able to play without downloading anything on mobile and desktop. Google has been tight-lipped about Playables so far, so there is little to go on in terms of monetisation of these games. Will they be completely free, supported by ads or have microtransactions? Perhaps they could be included as an extra incentive in YouTube Premium.
Of course, if people are to use this service, Google will need to make sure that the games themselves are fun to play. Hopefully, it will invite developers of some of the best Android apps to create their own Playables. It may be game over for Stadia but with Playables combined with the Google Play Games for PC platform, perhaps the company has an extra life in the gaming world.