YouTube’s new games and UI changes might improve your video consumption life

YouTube is dipping its fingers into every pie it can reach. It’s got YouTube Music, television (at least in the US), eSports livestreams, and now it’s getting into games of its own with a new initiative called Playables. It hasn’t said much about the type of games yet or when they will arrive, but it is testing a way for users to control a video game from the YouTube app.

A few other minor UI changes are also making their way to YouTube. One involves the ‘Up Next’ UI that appears upon finishing a video and if autoplay is enabled. Previously, it featured a circular indicator that allowed eight seconds before the next video in the list would begin playing. The new version drops the countdown and repositions the video information to take up a larger portion of the screen. The ‘Play Now’ and ‘Cancel’ buttons are bigger as well. The change was spotted by 9to5Google and will likely be rolling out to Android phones first.

Another smaller UI change is the redesign of the channel tiles, which feature rounded edges and a darkened background. This change makes the thumbnails stand out more and aligns them with Google’s own YouTube TV app, creating a bit more visual cohesion for large-screen devices.

Then there’s a new button that can be accessed on the video page for both mobile and desktop. It’s a way to share the video via social media directly without having to open a separate app, which could be useful for some people. The last big change is a revamp of the subscription button, which now has a high-contrast color and a more noticeable shape to make it easier to find on both watch pages and channel pages.

Other updates are coming to YouTube’s mobile apps as well, including a quicker way to double the playback speed and an option to disable all touch input while watching a full-screen video. Google is also updating the sharing menu on mobile, shifting it to a floating option that’s more easily accessible in landscape orientation.

YouTube isn’t done tinkering with its software either, and it will be interesting to see how the company continues to evolve the platform in 2023. It’s certainly been busy over the past year with crackdowns on third-party apps, a Premium price hike, divisive Shorts, and more. Whether these improvements make for a better experience, though, remains to be seen. The best part is that most of them are free to use, so you can test them out for yourself. Just make sure you have the latest version of the app on your phone. If not, you can always download it from the Play Store.