YouTube dove much deeper into the gaming world Friday with the announcement of a new gamer-focused site and app.
Although YouTube has long been chock-full of gaming videos, YouTube Gaming puts all that content in one place, giving over 25,000 games their own branded channels, and, more importantly, giving users a new, simpler way to stream their gameplay live.
With the new live-streaming feature, YouTube Gaming joins the ranks of the hugely popular gaming site Twitch.tv, which Amazon acquired for nearly $US1 billion last year (Google reportedly tried to buy it, too).
Twitch hosts both live-streamed and video-on-demand (VoD) content, but its real-time broadcasts are what users flock to. At the time it was acquired, Twitch accounted for more than 40% of all live video streaming traffic online.
Because YouTube Gaming will soon take on live-streaming — the site launches this summer — it’s easy to pin the launch as YouTube trying to demolish Twitch.
But Ryan Wyatt, YouTube’s head of global gaming content, told Business Insider that he thinks the “YouTube vs Twitch” narrative is overblown.
“I think it’s sensationalised because it’s a fun story to write, talking about YouTube vs. the only other significant gaming platform,” he says. “But I don’t look at it that way.”
One of the things that sets YouTube Gaming apart, he says, is the breadth of content it will include.
“Gaming content can be scripted animation, live-streaming, original programming, eSports, people doing cosplay for a champion in a game, and more,” he says. “We want to be all inclusive to everything that fits under ‘Gaming,’ broadly.”
Sure, YouTube is launching new live-streaming features, but Wyatt thinks the most valuable part of the new gaming app is that it will be bolstered by all the other videos users have uploaded over the years.
“You’re going to be able to go to League of Legends game page and see all the great content that’s there,” he says. “VoD, eSports, live-streams, the top-five plays. There’s no place on the Internet where you can do that, other than the YouTube Gaming app.”
Twitch, for its part, didn’t seem particularly worried about new competition either.
“I loved it,” Wyatt says at Twitch’s social media response. “I thought it was funny. They have got a good sense of humour. We all laughed.”