Gamers unite! After failing to buy Twitch last year – the popular live streaming company – YouTube has decided to become a rival by launching its own service for gamers.
It’s not the first time Google, the owner of YouTube, goes head to head with one of its tech competitors. This time it’s Amazon, which purchased Twitch for roughly $1bn, as the major companies engage in a battle for dominance in the fast-rising game-streaming market.
Google’s new service, YouTube Gaming, will come in the form of a globally-available website, as well as native apps for both iOS and Android apps in the US and UK. Its existence was announced back in June, and users are thrilled about the 25,000 games the new portal is offering, each boasting a profile page that provides related YouTube videos.
Following music and children’s videos, games are the third entertainment category that YouTube has decided to offer special attention in the form of a dedicated service. While YouTube Music Key – Google’s music-streaming service – is still in beta testing, the YouTube Kids app has already been launched in the US back in February this year.
According to Ryan Wyatt, YouTube’s director of gaming, creating YouTube Gaming was not a difficult decision, but rather following the figures. With billions of hours of watch-time each month and hundreds of millions of users interested in gaming videos, it was only natural that YouTube would give them what they wanted.
Online-video analytics firm OpenSlate is definitely backing up those numbers. Gaming videos on YouTube have gained an astonishing followership: more than 2.2bn of the monthly video views are generated by the 10 most popular games channels.
Some of the service’s biggest stars include gamers like “PewDiePie,” Kjellberg and Dan “The Diamond Minecart” Middleton. Only in 2014, Kjellberg has earned somewhere around $7.4m strictly from his channel views and sponsorship deals.
Currently, one of the most popular formats in gaming videos is the walkthrough with commentary, but Wyatt hopes that live broadcasting will broaden the interest to other areas, such as eSports – professional gaming tournaments – or gaming talk-shows.
He added that some users might feel inspired to start streaming if they are offered this opportunity, especially if they see their favorite content creators on live shows.
In spite of its billion monthly viewers, YouTube will be playing catchup to Twitch when it comes to live streaming, as plenty of prominent YouTube gamers haven’t waited around for YouTube to make a move and are already using Twitch.
One of the key challenges for YouTube Gaming focuses on moderation. Finding solutions for the toxic commenting culture is not easy, but Wyatt said that YouTube Gaming will offer a new system: chat moderation, banning and timing-out users, and banning filtered words.
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