The YouTube Playables channel featuring many mobile-friendly games.

YouTube Playables Illustrates the Platform’s Lack of Focus

But...why?

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Reyadh is a writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction who loves to play video games full of monsters and magic. When he's not scribing unique and unrelenting speculative fiction or slaying demons in virtual worlds, he is writing strategy guides to help others reach their gaming goals.

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Marshall is a seasoned writer and gaming enthusiast based in Tokyo. He's a prolific wordsmith with hundreds of articles featured on top-tier sites like Business Insider, How-To Geek, PCWorld, and Zapier. His writing has reached a massive audience with over 70 million readers!

Key Takeaway

On May 28, 2024, YouTube added free mobile-friendly games to its website under the name “Playables.”

However, the video hosting titan still refuses to fix common issues in favor of adding more nonsense to their already limping platform.

People visit YouTube to watch videos on an immense variety of topics, not to play mobile games. However, this has not stopped the video hosting juggernaut from cramming an unneeded and unasked-for feature into their increasingly bloated platform. YouTube Playables shows the site’s lack of consideration for its users.

Table Of Contents

    What Are YouTube Playables?

    Do you know those simple games that are running rampant on mobile device stores like Google Play and Apple’s App Store? Well, they’re now on YouTube as well. These low-effort and mind-numbing games can now be accessed from the desktop or mobile version of YouTube. The YouTube Playables feature was launched on May 28, 2024.

    The game "Mob Control" on YouTube Playables.

    You can find all 75+ of these minigames on YouTube’s Playables channel. They’re all generic, easy to understand, and can be used to kill time without any mental, emotional, or physical investment. The goal of this feature is clearly to keep people on YouTube longer while also pulling users away from other mobile games.

    Why play Candy Crush on your smartphone when you can enjoy Cut the Rope on YouTube? Surely, YouTube will meet all of your content needs!

    How YouTube Is Disappointing Users

    Less is more, here. YouTube doesn’t need random, thoughtless games; it needs to fix its various bugs, glitches, and performance issues. For a while now, users have been complaining about oddities that have yet to be addressed, such as disappearing Like Buttons, garbled YouTube Shorts playback, and tons more.

    The Like Button on YouTube not appearing.

    Speaking of YouTube Shorts—one of the platform’s most profitable and used features—it’s rife with user experience issues. The user interface is awkward and cumbersome, videos sometimes don’t play, and (on certain smartphones) the YouTube app simply crashes without explanation. If YouTube’s goal is to increase the usage time of mobile users, why not address and fix these problems? The video hosting giant seems more intent on waving shiny novelties in front of users instead of fixing documented errors.

    On top of that, the desktop version of the website is—and has been for a while—plagued with various other problems. For one, comment sections on popular videos are constantly bombarded with bots posting links to pornographic websites. Why is that so hard to filter and ban? You’d think a company with billions of dollars would have the resources to write a simple script to eliminate such obvious nuisances.

    Yet, at the same time, users cannot say even remotely offensive words (like “moron”) without their comments getting flagged. The discrepancy between its uncaring approach towards comment bots and hypersensitivity and overly strict treatment of real users is baffling.

    Users Are Falling for the Ploy

    Despite the blatant attention-grabbing nature of YouTube Playables, many users are eating it up. The easy-to-consume and brainless content is ticking the boxes for many people. This is continuing the trend of producing thoughtless content for instant gratification while being immediately dismissable. The world doesn’t need more of this. We have enough distractions in our daily lives; we don’t need another option to enhance our procrastination.

    It’s easy and fun but doesn’t stimulate the mind in long-term ways. While the same can be true for many longer videos, many at least can leave viewers with something to reflect upon afterward. Even the most idiotic prank videos can make you think “Wow, I’m now going to be on-guard for someone trying to do that to me.” However, what is there to gain from YouTube Playables besides drawing people away from more fulfilling content? Nothing. You’ll lose minutes of your day when you could have made progress on something important or meaningful.

    A user on Reddit saying they like YouTube Playables.

    Are We the Problem?

    Doomscrolling—the act of continuously watching short-form content for long periods of time—is a common practice these days. It’s very easy to get sucked into an endless chain of videos less than a minute long. We do this because we are searching for interesting and satisfying content. However, more often than not, we instead continuously swipe through passively enjoyable nonsense.

    There are definitely intriguing and well-made YouTube Shorts out there—but these videos are vastly outnumbered by AI-generated trash and other useless visual vomit. You often have to scroll through a dozen of these unwanted videos before you come across something pleasant.

    A short video about social media versus reality expectations.

    But we keep doing it. Over and over, from day to night, for minutes out of multiple parts of our day. The amount of time we spend doomscrolling adds up to a few hours a month for some people—if not per week. Why?

    It’s because we’ve been conditioned to seek instant gratification. The convenience of modern technology and the easy accessibility we have to limitless content has spoiled us. For the previous generation, the equivalent would be gaining hundreds of TV channels whereas before there were only dozens. The ol’ “tons of content but nothing to enjoy” trope lives on, but this time on the internet instead of on television.

    It’s Time to Break the Cycle

    If we don’t change our habits, YouTube—and other big websites—are going to keep shoving the same refuse down our collective throats. They want more clicks, more views, and more engagements. In return, we should give them less of our time.

    We’re not saying to stop watching videos. We’re saying that you should alternate your pastimes. Instead of doomscrolling for 10 minutes, maybe read a few pages of a book you like. In place of visually digesting an influencer’s self-absorbed vlog, consider playing a board game with friends and family. Maybe put your in your pocket and go for a walk around the block once in a while.


    Conditioning goes both ways. If we only partake in worthwhile content, YouTube will stop pushing nonsense like its Playables towards us. However, that’s much easier said than done. Shifting a paradigm is never easy, nor is altering your routine. With that said, a little effort goes a long way. Start by spending less time on YouTube and social media websites. Even playing an old favorite video game can be therapeutic and help you shed unwanted habits. Every journey begins with a single step.

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