Google's Playables service is now in testing for some YouTube users

YouTube on TV is changing (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google's new Playables game streaming service has now entered its testing phase, but only for a select few YouTube users.

The Playables service was reported to be in development back in June, via an internal email sent to Google employees. Now, that original Wall Street Journal report looks to have been accurate as Playables is now available to access for a handful of users on YouTube.

Spotted by 9to5Google, YouTube's list of test features and experiments has been updated to confirm Playables is now in testing as of September 5. According to the page, and as per that initial report, Playables will allow YouTube users to instantly play a selection of games via their browser, iOS or Android devices.

Don't feel like you're missing out, though, as it's being reported that just a single title, Stack Bounce, is available to play during this initial testing phase. It seems that eventually, Playables will appear on your YouTube homepage alongside your subscriptions, shorts, and YouTube Music.

It also hasn't been confirmed as to whether or not Playables will require a YouTube Premium subscription. Though I wouldn't be surprised if the service ends up similar to Discord Activities, with select games being paywalled.

The broader scope of Google Playables is still unclear, too. The now-defunct Google Stadia was one of the earlier contenders in the current wave of cloud streaming services, but was unable to stay afloat like competitors Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce Now. I wouldn't be surprised, then, if Playables launched as a smaller-scale service meant to offer quick distractions as opposed to a full-bellied cloud streaming service.

There's certainly potential here, though. The pitch for Playables is not unlike the hundreds of Flash game websites of yesteryear. Having access to a bite-sized gaming service on YouTube, especially if there's little to no cost involved for the end user, could definitely be a worthy addition to the site's roster of multimedia content.

Is Google gearing up for another go at streaming with Playables? That remains to be seen, but if you're interested in the space in the meantime, take a look at our best Xbox Game Pass games list, many of which can be streamed via Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.