UPDATE: It’s live.
Google’s road to a dedicated video game streaming service has taken it from trying to acquire Twitch (Amazon won that battle with a $970 million purchase) to creating its own platform. Yesterday, YouTube Gaming teased a launch tomorrow. Google has confirmed the launch is happening “later today.”
YouTube Gaming will stand separate from the main YouTube service and will allow gamers to broadcast gameplay to the masses.
YouTube introduced 60 FPS live-streaming earlier this year in the lead up to the “summer 2015” release of YouTube Gaming. One of this year’s biggest gaming tournaments, The International, was broadcast live on YouTube (among other channels including Twitch and ESPN). I checked out a little bit of the action on the YouTube stream, and it was smooth with no hiccups.
“We wanted to create a one-stop shop for all gaming content,” Ryan Wyatt, YouTube’s head of gaming, told the BBC. “At the moment there is a fragmented experience. People go to different places for live content, and YouTube for video on demand. We have amazing gamers that don’t live stream yet. Now they have that opportunity.”
Twitch is the exact opposite. Viewers go there to watch their favorite gamers play live. On-demand video is more of an afterthought.
Wyatt is a solid hire for YouTube Gaming. He served as head of Live and eSports for Machinima for three years. After that, he returned to Major League Gaming (MLG) as VP of Programming. He knows a thing or two about YouTubers, and specifically gaming-centric YouTubers.
Who Will Come Out on Top, Twitch or YouTube
It’s a question everyone asks. Can YouTube take on Twitch? I think there’s plenty of room for both. Twitch has ruled the game streaming market since it launched. There are others, but none of them have the name recognition or the audiences of Twitch or YouTube.
Wyatt points out how YouTube has “amazing gamers that don’t live stream yet.” That’s true, but live streaming and creating on-demand video using multiple takes are completely different animals. Still, many of the most popular YouTubers should be able to transition no problem.
Subscriptions are another key area for prominent Twitch streamers. YouTube knows this and is planning their own ad-free, subscription based service.
The key for YouTube is to get its gaming YouTubers on the service and live-streaming. YouTube has the talent. Today, they’ll have the platform.