Google is developing a social gaming startup called 'Arcade' alongside Co-Owner Michael Sayman, a product manager at Google who has helped work on Assistant and is part of Google's Area 120 division. The new gaming startup will be centered around mobile gaming and seek to bring a more social aspect to the platform so users can play games with friends. Arcade is currently in an early experimental phase and while there are no details on products yet that will be offered to users, Arcade will reportedly put out games in which users will create their own accounts and profiles using their phone numbers instead of linking existing social media accounts.
This method of setting up an account would make it so that users wouldn't have to share other personal information about themselves by way of linking another profile from a different service, and might make some who are wary of sharing such information more inclined to check out what Arcade has to offer when it actually launches something. Despite the fact that Arcade is going to be building games, Google is reportedly looking at Arcade as social media startup because it considers games that get to a certain level of popularity and growth as a sort of social network in their own way.
To some degree this might be an accurate way of looking at things. Some games which are massively popular and offer multiplayer online gaming experiences let users talk with each other during gameplay, as well as before and after, so in a sense they can act like a social network, though perhaps a more slimmed down version without many of the same features like sharing media, web links and more. That said there is no telling what games coming from Google's Arcade outfit will deliver, so there could be plenty of social tie-ins that you wouldn't normally think to find in games which let you play with others. Being that Arcade is in an early experimental phase there's no telling how long it will be before it launches anything.