After a bit of a wait, Google has finally launched YouTube Gaming, a service that will compete directly with Twitch for live gaming audiences, pitched simply as a “YouTube for gamers”. The portal was announced back in June this year after Google failed to buy Twitch in 2014. YouTube Gaming is Google’s attempt to take a “slice of the live gaming pie”.
YouTube is top dog when it comes to live video and it’s also very big on gaming. It was only a matter of time until it mixed the two, especially since Google lost Twitch to Amazon last year. So, YouTube Gaming was born.
YouTube Gaming is a version of YouTube that caters directly to those who would search for “Call of Duty” instead of “Call Me Maybe”. In that respect it does a great job in separating gaming content with all the other stuff on YouTube. In terms of interface and UX, YouTube Gaming is familiar. It looks much like YouTube overall (especially the main search page) but it also shares many similar design elements with Twitch – stream, comments, ability to subscribe etc. On YouTube Gaming, users can search through over 25,000 games and find all related YouTube videos to them.
Following the launch of YouTube Music and the YouTube Kids app, Gaming is the third big area to build a “dedicated” service on. It’s no surprise, as gaming accounts for
“… billions of hours of watch-time a month, with hundreds of millions of users. It’s astonishing.”
There are also gamers on YouTube that are making millions from their channels. PewDiePie or The Diamond Minecart are just two of them. At the moment, “Let’s Play” is a huge segment, and live-broadcasting will only strengthen it. Also, as e-Sports tournaments are going mainstream, one can only expect a massive shift of importance towards this technology.
Despite YouTube’s strengths, Twitch is already very big, so YouTube Gaming will need to catch up fast if it wants to compete. A big bet for YouTube is getting hardware integration with games consoles like PlayStation 4 or Xbox One (Twitch is already integrated into both). Players need to be able to broadcast from their hardware – it’s that simple. As mobile begins to play a bigger role in gaming worldwide, YouTube Gaming is integrated with the Live Screen Streaming app for Android. Samsung‘s new flagship devices – the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge – have the ability to live-stream to YouTube from their cameras, so the ability to broadcast from gaming apps shouldn’t be too far off.
Improving live streaming capabilities is definitely one of YouTube‘s main areas of focus, as the company’s head of gaming, Ryan Wyatt explains
“We want to make live simple. We’ll definitely explore other opportunities to see how we can make live easier for people on consoles and phones, both for streaming and capturing content,”
iOS and Android apps for YouTube Gaming are available in the US and UK. What do you think is the next focus for YouTube?