Why it matters: Just a few months after burying Stadia's absurdly high ambitions, Google is now seemingly trying to establish another path for cloud gaming. This time, the Mountain View corporation would like YouTube users to pay some penny and "instantly" play a game they are watching a video of.
Stadia is dead, but cloud gaming lives on. Google closed its belated gaming service five months ago, but the company is seemingly still willing to bet on the fact that cloud gaming has a future despite gaming companies (and users) saying otherwise. According to the latest rumors, Google's next foray into cloud gaming could involve YouTube.
Reporters at The Wall Street Journal have seen an internal email sent to Google employees, which is seemingly inviting people to test a new gaming-related offering hosted by YouTube. The service, which is internally known as "Playables," would turn the video giant from a passive service into a "live" gaming platform.
Playables would let users instantly begin a gaming session while they're watching a related video, both on the web and the app version of YouTube. The service would initially offer "easily shareable games," sources say, while the only available title in the current test phase is a casual arcade game named Stack Bounce.
YouTube CEO Neal Mohan is actively searching for new revenue and growth opportunities as advertising spending declines. YouTube recently started testing adblocker blockers to push users towards the paid YouTube Premium experience. A Google spokesperson said gaming has always been a focus for YouTube, and the company is "always experimenting" with new features and services.
Mountain View didn't confirm or comment anything about Playables, though, which is understandable as the service is likely in its early internal testing stage. As Stadia blatantly demonstrated, the company is more than willing to throw huge amounts of money and time at something that could very much become a new entry in the infamous Google graveyard in short order.
Publicly launched in November 2019, Google Stadia was a cloud gaming platform providing an official controller and a streaming service to access laggy gameplay sessions through web browsers, Smart TVs, mobile apps, and Chromecast dongles. In about three years, Stadia succeeded at convincing absolutely no one – not even Google itself – that the game was worth the candle.