Yesterday a certain new mysterious ‘YouTube’ account came out of the blue on Twitter called @YouTubeGaming and it had a single vague tweet. No particular introduction, no explanation, no hints about what to expect. After a while another tweet appeared, and it revealed a little more: a picture of devices running a new yet-to-be-announced product. That led into a litany of tweets revealing bits and pieces — a screenshot here, an explanation there. Basically YouTube’s very own streaming service for gamers to take on twitch, an app and dedicated website designed to be a home for all its gaming video both live-streamed and on demand. YouTube Gaming will launch this summer starting in the US and UK.
Aside from those dedicated title pages, you can also subscribe to channels from game publishers and indie YouTube creators. Once you’ve subscribed to a few channels and pages, YouTube will offer up recommendations based on the stuff you like. And, of course, searching within YouTube Gaming will bring up results that are specifically gaming-related. Just like Twitch, live streams will a big deal for YouTube Gaming. Indeed, YouTube made it so that it’s often the first thing you’ll see when you launch the app or website. You’ll even get a notification whenever there’s a live stream from a channel or page that you’ve subscribed to. If you’re in the app itself, live streams from subscribed channels will be pinned to the top of the list.
While YouTube is a behemoth when it comes to online video, livestream and broadcast gameplay has been dominated by Twitch, which as of last year boasted 100 million viewers each month. (Related: Google was rumored last year to be acquiring Twitch before Amazon picked it up for $970 million.) Some of it has to do with technology; Google launched 60 frames per second video playback earlier this year — especially important for recording and watching modern games online — and its 60fps live streaming debuted just a few weeks ago in early preview. Google today is promising “an improved live experience that makes it simpler to broadcast your gameplay to YouTube.” That includes, according to product manager Barbara Macdonald, improved latency, highlight clipping, and more. And yes, you can monetize the streams through ads (including midroll ads) and fan funding — no premium subscription options at this point.
With YouTube Gaming, Google is hoping to let gamers have their own dedicated space in its ecosystem for gamers to find content specifically related to their interest. “Typing ‘call’ will show you ‘Call of Duty’ and not ‘Call Me Maybe.” YouTube Gaming will consist of 25,000 individual game portals which bring together all the activity around each title on a single page.
Only time will tell how successful Google will be at converting Twitch’s massive user base. YouTube will have a booth at E3 if you happen to be in the neighborhood (or a lucky Windows Insider). For more information about @YouTubeGaming check twitter.