Tech

YouTube and LinkedIn have games now, and here’s how you can play them

The trend of media companies bringing games to their platforms has been unfolding in recent years. 

In a world where user attention is increasingly competitive and attention spans are dwindling, streaming services and apps are looking for ways to captivate their audience. It makes sense for companies to expand into gaming to retain users on the platform: The global gaming market is worth around $221 billion, making it an enticing revenue stream to explore.

Here are the latest companies venturing into the gaming scene and details about each offering, including pricing, examples of titles and supported devices. 

Netflix Games

Netflix Games screen on mobile phone
Image Credits: Netflix

Netflix has a diverse portfolio of games, spanning nearly 100 games ranging from popular titles like GTA: The Trilogy, Assassin’s Creed, and Monument Valley, among others. And, compared to other competitors on our list, Netflix has an upper hand thanks to its vast IP, boosting its library with games tied to original series like “Love Is Blind,” “The Queen’s Gambit,” “Stranger Things” and more. 

Netflix’s gaming offering is free to subscribers of its streaming service and is accessible via its mobile app on iOS and Android devices. Players can browse the game library, and once they’ve made their selection, they can download the game separately from Google Play or Apple’s App Store. 

People who want to try the games need to pay for a Netflix subscription: Standard with ads ($6.99/month), Standard ($15.49/month) and Premium ($22.99/month). There are currently no add-on purchases or ads, but that could change. 

Netflix entered the gaming industry in 2021, yet its offering didn’t gain significant traction until recently, nabbing 81.2 million worldwide downloads across the App Store and Google Play Store in 2023. 

The company has expanded its gaming section in many ways since its initial launch. For instance, it was recently spotted experimenting with the ability to play games directly in a browser. The company has also introduced gamer tags and is testing a cloud gaming service. 

YouTube Playables

Image Credits: YouTube

Gaming seems like a natural avenue for YouTube to explore, since it’s always been one of the go-to destinations for gamers to livestream sessions and create content about popular video games. The Google-owned video platform officially integrated gaming features into its service in May 2024, giving users access to over 75 minigames. 

Called “Playables,” YouTube’s offering features a decent selection of titles, including popular games like Angry Birds Showdown, Cut the Rope, Trivia Crack and 8 Ball Billiards Classic, among others. The games are mainly designed to be an easy distraction for passing the time on a commute or to be played casually in between YouTube video viewing sessions.  

While YouTube’s minigames were previously available only to Premium subscribers, they’re now free to play for all users. The offering is available on desktop, Android devices and iOS devices. No downloads are required.

Sling TV Arcade

Image Credits: Sling

As Sling TV faces challenges in keeping up with its competitors, the DISH-owned streaming service launched a free gaming platform called “Arcade” to attract and retain users. The new feature lets viewers play a variety of classic arcade games while simultaneously watching their favorite TV show or movie.

The selection of games is currently small, with only 10 titles available, including Doodle Jump, Solitaire Clash, Tetris and Wheel of Fortune. The company previously told TechCrunch that it would continue adding titles every few months, especially before popular sporting events. 

While watching a show or film, press down on the player and click on “Interactive Features” to pull up the Arcade. After selecting a game, it will appear as a split screen next to the content you’re watching, which is convenient for lazy TV days when binging reruns of a reality TV show. There’s also an option to expand the game to full screen. 

Arcade is available on Sling TV ($40-$45/month) and Sling Freestream, the company’s free ad-supported streaming service. However, it’s only on select devices at this time: Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Comcast, Samsung and Vizio devices. 

LinkedIn also has games

Image Credits: LinkedIn.com (opens in a new window) under a license.

Gaming is not exclusively explored by entertainment platforms. LinkedIn’s entry into gaming marks a significant expansion for the company, positioning it as more than just a professional networking platform. 

In an effort to attract more users, LinkedIn announced in May that it launched three games on its platform: a Sudoko-style game called Queens, a trivia game named Crossclimb, and Pinpoint, which is similar to the New York Times’ Connections game. 

Each game is meant to foster connection with people in your network and can be played with first-degree connections, meaning people you are directly connected with on LinkedIn. Games can be played only once a day.

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