Last year there were rumours that Google was looking to buy the game streaming site Twitch. But those rumours proved unfounded, and Twitch was eventually bought by Amazon. However, Google is not about to surrender.
Early last week Google announced that they are launching a dedicated service for gamers using their existing video streaming service, which is to be called YouTube Gaming. This move is a direct strike against their rival, tech giant Amazon, in a battle for dominance over the game steaming market.
This new service will have its own website, and will support Android and iOS applications in the UK and US. They will include more than 25,000 game titles where related YouTube videos will be collected for users to view.
Google clearly understands that gaming is a huge industry worth billions. Ryan Wyatt, head of YouTube Gaming, stated that there billions of hours of games-related videos watched on YouTube each month, with hundreds of millions of users interested in the industry. As well as being a move against their competitors, the launch of YouTube Gaming also seems like a logical step for Google. All they’re really doing is catering for the specific interests of a large part of their audience.
Some of the most popular YouTube celebrities are gamers. With 33 million subscribers, Felix Kjellberg a.k.a “PewDiePie”, holds the distinction of being the most subscribed YouTuber. Last year, he earned $7.4m from his YouTube channel.
Game walkthroughs and commentary videos already quite common on YouTube, but with this new live-streaming service, Google hopes to introduce a new type of content to the website in a bid to attract some of the attention that has made Twitch so popular.
Why Use YouTube Gaming When I Already Use Twitch?
Twitch has a huge audience, with many prominent YouTubers already streaming content on the platform. YouTube certainly has some catching up to do. On top of that, Twitch is already integrated on some of the most popular gaming platforms, such as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, making it easy for players to broadcast their games. YouTube will have to form hardware partnerships with companies that are already working with Twitch. This will doubtlessly prove challenging.
YouTube currently has hardware partnerships with Sony and Samsung, allowing feeds from smartphones to be uploaded directly to YouTube. It’s possible that feeds from games running on these devices could soon be streamed on YouTube.
Another challenge that YouTube Gaming will have to face is moderation. The comment section of almost every video featured on YouTube is filled with spam and abuse. So far, YouTube has struggled to control this. PewDiePie disabled his comment section in 2014 after YouTube failed to resolve the hostile environment caused by the lack of moderation, even after having announced that they were working on it back in 2013.
YouTube Gaming will be treated as an integrated part of the larger YouTube platform. Rather than focusing solely on YouTube Gaming, Google has promised to tackle the issue of spam and abuse across the entire platform. But that said, certain additional options will exist on the gaming side of YouTube, including live chat, the ability to ban users, time-out users, and the option to filter certain words. Many broadcasters have welcomed these changes.
YouTube Gaming vs. Twitch – Fight!
YouTube Gaming is new to the scene, so it’s far too early to predict how their battle with current market-leaders Twitch will pan out. It’s also not yet clear just how Google and YouTube will market this new service.
With YouTube’s revenue predicted to grow up to $6 billion in 2015, we can understand how important this battle is for Google. Obviously, they want to increase their market share in game streaming, so they can attract more users and further boost their ad revenue.
Who do you think is going to win?