The Game-Changing Strategy: How Playables on YouTube, Netflix, LinkedIn, and NYT Are Driving Disruption!

Discover how Playables on YouTube, Netflix, LinkedIn, and NYT are driving disruption. Learn about their benefits, impact, and future developments in this game-changing strategy.

The Game-Changing Strategy: How Playables on YouTube, Netflix, LinkedIn, and NYT Are Driving Disruption!

Have you played a Playable yet? If you've played games like Wordle, Connections, Tiles, or Sudoku you've already experienced Playables, but you didn't even know it. They are now showing up in places you would've never expected.

A "playable game" is a lightweight digital game designed to be playable directly within various media platforms or your browser. These games are typically embedded in websites, advertisements, social media platforms, or other digital ecosystems, making them easily accessible and convenient for users.

Playables provide a viable marketing channel to drive new revenue and retention!

Mini-games, or quick games, as they've been referred to in other segments, have been around for quite some time. What is new is combining Playables into existing platforms to drive new customer acquisition and retention for existing platforms.

When we mention names like YouTube, Netflix, LinkedIn, or the New York Times (NYT), we don't consider them gaming companies. However, Playables are a key driver in NYT's turnaround success.

New York Times and Playables

Playables on New York Times

Traditional media relies heavily on ads to fund its business. This business model has been suffering across the board, with most newspapers losing money or laying off staff in the last several years.

The New York Times took this challenge into its own hands. In January 2022, NYT acquired Wordle, the absolute viral game, for a seven-figure sum. The acquisition pivoted the entire strategy of the NYT from selling ads to cross-selling NYT subscriptions from Wordle or similar games to NYT potential subscribers. This change of strategy resulted in a 42.65% increase in revenue and a 42.86% increase in subscriptions.

NYT's is now bundling games, with other media packages to attract new subscribers...and it's working!!

Playables are helping the NYT's thrive amid the media chaos. The NYT has set the benchmark or what is possible when combining Playables into subscription bundles which enables the NYT's to:

  1. Acquire new subscribers
  2. Retain existing customers and turn them into returning visitors.

Here are some key characteristics of playables games:

Characteristics of Playables Games

  1. Simplified Gameplay:
    • Short Sessions: Designed for short play sessions, typically lasting a few minutes and sometimes a single game per day. This model drives retention as players want to return back the next day to play the next game. Combined with gamification mechanics that inspire players to log in daily to unlock challenges and continue playing streaks.
    • Simple Mechanics: Easy to understand and play, catering to a wide audience with varying levels of gaming experience.
  2. Engagement and Retention:
    • High Engagement: Aimed at quickly capturing the player's attention and keeping them engaged.
    • Retention Strategies: Often incorporate elements that encourage repeat play, such as leaderboards, achievements, building streaks, or rewards.
  3. Monetization:
    • Ad Revenue: Can generate revenue through in-game advertisements or sponsorships.
    • Microtransactions: These may include options for in-game purchases or microtransactions.
    • Cross-Selling: NYT's has proven that using Playables is a great lever to acquire new customers.

YouTube launched Playables this week

YouTube Playables - Angry Birds

YouTube announced this week that 75 Playables are available to play on the web, iOS, or Android apps. Of course, in Switzerland, where I am, it is not yet available. However, here's the direct link to YouTube Playable Games Angry Birds ShowdownWords of WondersCut the RopeTomb of the Mask, and Trivia Crack.

Of course, I tried Angry Birds and lost 20 minutes of my life reliving some old playing habits. The games are great and launch directly within the YouTube app which keeps you inside their ecosystem. I can imagine the next step is building more gamification to unlock new games or features to keep players returning for more.

Also, I'm sure Google Ads will be coming for this space...

The Playables for YouTube will definitely increase the retention of YouTube users considerably and might even open up opportunities to cross-sell their premium YouTube membership to unlock more games or features.

NetFlix Games

Netflix is also flirting with the games space. Netflix Games contains surprisingly a lot of games already. However, what sets Netflix apart from NYT, YouTube, and LinkedIn is that the games are all mobile games requiring you to install on your phone.

With games such as Sonic, Grand Theft Auto III, and Stranger Things makes the brand effect quite interesting. The advantage of Netflix is that they already own the rights to many movies and TV Shows, so this could become a very interesting space for them.

The games are included in your Netflix subscription, and Netlfix states, "No ads. No extra fees. No in-app purchases.". However, this doesn't prevent them from learning more about your online playing preferences and building an even better data profile on you.

Netflix + Games = the ultimate Netflix and Chill!

LinkedIn Playables

The surprising contender in the Playables space is LinkedIn Games. Playables is actually the best idea for LinkedIn out of all the platforms. only has three games Playables is actually the best idea for LinkedIn out of all the platforms. LinkedIn is known for great content but interacts less with content than other social media platforms.

LinkedIn has a user base of 1 Billion users, yes, Billion with a "B". folks. Adding Playables to the offering makes absolutely perfect sense.

If LinkedIn can increase Daily Active users by 1% by using Playables, this could enormously impact revenue and interactions. In my eyes, LinkedIn is the sleeper out of the bunch that has the greatest potential to unlock either cross-selling of other products or increasing engagement, maybe both.

My only concern is LinkedIn could turn into the old Facebook days, and my entire timeline is spamming me with Farmville/LinkedIn Games updates.

First impressions: I played Queens quickly to see what the game was. After completing the game, LinkedIn informed me that three of my connections also played this game. The social graph aspect could be another way to see who's best in your network or company on a particle game. I could see a lot of value here with the entire social aspect

Benefits of Playables Games

  • Wide Reach: Accessible to a broad audience due to their platform-independent nature.
  • High Engagement: Interactive and engaging, leading to higher user retention and time spent.
  • Marketing Tool: Effective for brand engagement and promotional campaigns.
  • Ease of Use: Simple and quick to play, requiring minimal effort from the user.

In summary, playable games are a versatile and engaging form of digital entertainment that leverages the accessibility and integration capabilities of modern web and mobile platforms. They provide an interactive experience that is easy to access and play, making them popular for casual gaming and marketing.

FAQ Section: The Game-Changing Strategy with Playables on YouTube, Netflix, LinkedIn, and NYT

What are Playables and how do they work?
Playables are lightweight digital games embedded within various media platforms or browsers, designed for short, engaging play sessions. They often feature simple mechanics to cater to a wide audience and aim to drive user retention and engagement through repeat play incentives like leaderboards and daily challenges.

Why are Playables important for platforms like NYT and YouTube?
Playables provide an innovative marketing channel for these platforms, helping to drive new revenue and increase user retention. For example, the NYT uses Playables to cross-sell subscriptions, significantly boosting their revenue and subscriber base.

How have Playables impacted the New York Times?
The NYT's acquisition of Wordle led to a new strategy of bundling games with media subscriptions, resulting in a 42.65% revenue increase and a 42.86% rise in subscriptions. This strategy has become a benchmark for leveraging Playables to attract and retain subscribers.

What benefits do Playables offer to users and platforms?
Playables are accessible and engaging, leading to higher user retention and longer time spent on platforms. They serve as effective marketing tools, driving brand engagement and promotional campaigns. For platforms, they offer new revenue streams through ads and cross-selling.

What future developments are expected for Playables on platforms like LinkedIn and Netflix?
LinkedIn aims to increase daily active users by incorporating social aspects into Playables, while Netflix leverages its extensive media library to offer exclusive games, enhancing their subscription value. Both platforms are exploring how Playables can boost user engagement and monetization.