The game streaming service will be available as an app for Android and iOS and online at gaming.youtube.com. More than 25,000 games will have a dedicated page for videos and live streams, alongside a number of channels from game publishers and YouTube video creators.
When YouTube Gaming was first announced back in June the plan was to collect together “the biggest community of gamers on the web — all in one place”. As the community of gamers on the web don’t limit themselves to live streams and Let’s Plays, the new service will inevitably encompass a wide range of videos relating to videogame culture, from cosplays to cooking. It could be argued that this is a dilution of the focus on video games, but I would venture to say it’s actually more inclusive. Not everyone’s love of games is manifested in live streaming their gameplay; games aren’t just games anymore, they’re part of a wider culture, and no matter how someone expresses their love of that culture, they’re still part of it.
That being said, live streams will most likely be the biggest part of the site, and users will not only be able to subscribe to channels, but also to alerts for the start times of specific streams. All video streams are handled via HTML 5, can be recorded at 60fps and there will even be a ‘DVR Mode’ which will allow users to access playback of the last four hours of any stream, something Twitch notably doesn’t have. A beta version of YouTube’s new live streaming dashboard will launch alongside Gaming.
If gaming is the only reason you find yourself trawling through YouTube, you’ll be happy to know that you want have to sort through swathes of unrelated content anymore, as YouTube Gaming categorises YouTube’s gaming-related content. You’ll be able to sort your searches by individual game titles and the type of video content on offer, so it’ll be much easier to find what you’re looking for now. Princess Peach makeup tutorial? You’ll get suggestions for that before suggestions for Princess Diaries now.
In January, Twitch announced it had more than 1.5 million broadcasters and 100 million visitors per month, which is an incredible amount, but YouTube Gaming could really give Twitch a run for its money. YouTube has the familiarity that Twitch doesn’t, which will be popular with viewers who aren’t accustomed to Twitch but are more willing to navigate the YouTube interface. Besides this, many Twitch streamers actually archive their videos on YouTube and now that they can stream and store all in one place, Twitch could see a serious blow to its broadcaster base; video makers want all of their videos to be where the widest audience is, and considering many viewers will only have time to watch the on-demand video rather than the livestream, that audience is on YouTube.
It’s not surprising that Google has decided to make this move, after their initial interest in Twitch and the fact that the popularity of gaming on Youtube has soared over the years, with the site’s most subscribed channel being gamer PewDiePie, sitting at 38.8 million subscribers. It seems that Google is determined to take advantage of the gaming community’s commitment to videogames in all their forms and become leaders of this rapidly growing market.
Main Image: © YouTube Gaming