YouTube has launched a service dedicated to gamers, YouTube games, in a bid to compete with Twitch, the live streaming company it tried to buy last year.
The move sees YouTube owner Google take on rival tech giant Amazon, which bought Twitch for nearly $ 1 billion, as companies fight for dominance in the growing game streaming market.
YouTube Gaming will be available as a website worldwide and will also offer iOS and Android apps in the US and UK. Announced in June, the new portal includes a directory of more than 25,000 games, each with its own profile page with associated YouTube videos.
YouTube Gaming is making games the third entertainment category to gain attention from Google’s online video service, after children’s music and videos. The music streaming service YouTube Music Key remains in beta testing, while the YouTube Kids app launched in the United States in February 2015.
Ryan Wyatt, Head of Games on YouTube, said, âGaming is so important now. We watch billions of hours per month, with hundreds of millions of users. It’s amazing.
Games are certainly popular on YouTube: The service’s 10 most popular game channels alone generate more than 2.2 billion video views per month, according to online video analytics company OpenSlate.
Players like Felix âPewDiePieâ Kjellberg and Dan âThe Diamond Minecartâ Middleton are among YouTube’s biggest stars, with Kjellberg making $ 7.4 million in 2014 from his channel and associated sponsorship deals.
Wyatt said he hopes the addition of live streaming will spawn new game-focused show formats to accompany the âLet’s Playâ walkthroughs with commentary that’s already very popular on YouTube.
Professional gaming tournaments – eSports – and gaming talk shows are two areas where it expects growth. âMaybe some YouTube creators who aren’t currently streaming content elsewhere will start,â he said. âYou will start to see some of your favorite creators start doing live broadcasts. “
The âanywhere elseâ is primarily Twitch, which launched in 2011 as a spin-off of the video streaming service Justin.tv, and has quickly grown into a popular way to watch live game streams online. .
It was bought by Amazon for $ 970 million in August 2014, and more than doubled its monthly viewers from 45 million in late 2013 to 100 million by the end of 2014 – at this point there were 1.5 million broadcasters, of which 10,000 were making money from advertising on their channels.
YouTube may be an online video giant with a billion monthly viewers, including hundreds of millions who watch game videos, but for live game streams it is catching up to Twitch, which already has quite a few. of leading YouTube players on its service.
Hardware partnerships and moderation will be two key challenges for YouTube Gaming. Twitch is built into PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game consoles to make it easier for players to stream, for example, as well as Sony live screen streaming app for Android devices.
YouTube is launching into mobile: it also works with the Sony application and has a partnership with Samsung for stream video from your Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones – but with a feed from their cameras rather than games running on the devices.
âWe want to make life simple. We will definitely explore other opportunities to see how we can make life easier for users on consoles and phones, both for streaming and content capture, âsaid Wyatt, highlighting improvements in technology in May. YouTube for live broadcasts.
Moderation is already a controversial topic for YouTube, with PewDiePie cutting comments on his channel in September 2014, complaining that âit’s mostly spam, it’s people advertising, it’s people trying to to provoke “.
The culture of toxic comments is an issue that goes beyond games on YouTube, and the company’s head of content and business operations, Robert Kyncl, told The Guardian in June that the YouTube product group “was working on a whole bunch of solutions that would make it more enjoyable “. with comments.
Wyatt said YouTube Gaming faces the same challenge. âWe’re focusing on the YouTube comments system as a whole. In the game part, we have rebuilt the live streaming platform and created chat moderation, the ability to ban users, timeout users, ban filtered words, etc. “, did he declare.
âIt is important to maintain the integrity of the chat while having a live broadcast, and to indicate who is the broadcaster, who are the moderators, etc. It’s a good first step, but there is much more we can do with the cat in the future.
Better moderation tools will be welcomed by PewDiePie and fellow creators, even if they occasionally ruffle the feathers of their most discerning viewers. Wyatt said YouTube Gaming should send a different and more positive message to gamers, however.
âIt recognizes that the focus on games is an important part of YouTube, and it sends a message to a lot of different people. You can’t ignore how important the hardcore gaming segment is: you have to create an experience. for them, âhe said.
“The game is unique, and some of the products we want to create are unique to the game.”
Top 10 YouTube Game Channels (By Monthly Views)
The diamond wagon
379 million monthly views and 7.7 million subscribers
291 million monthly views and 38.9 million subscribers
252 million monthly views and 9.1 million subscribers
248 million monthly views and 5.5 million subscribers
Jack Septic Eye
248 million monthly views and 6.2 million subscribers
224 million monthly views and 13.8 million subscribers
164 million monthly views and 10.8 million subscribers
152 million monthly views and 6.3 million subscribers
141 million monthly views and 5.8 million subscribers
124 million monthly views and 3.4 million subscribers