At the time of writing, Twitch was the only meaningful live-streaming game in town. But at 10am PST today, a new challenger will appear in the form of YouTube‘s long-awaited Gaming platform.
Despite leading the way in terms of views, YouTube has never been seen as a particularly gamer-friendly destination. Especially when you consider that a search for “Call Of Duty” on the site is more likely to recommend cartoons, vlogs from army veterans, and guides on how to pick up “chicks” than videos about the insanely popular Call Of Duty video game series.
YouTube Gaming aims to confront that reputation head on by serving up gaming content from over 25,000 YouTubers specially selected to be part of the service, as well as extra content recommendations based on what users are watching and what YouTube’s almighty algorithm deems worthy of the platform.
By bringing all of this content to a single destination, YouTube hopes users will find it easier to find interesting content. Instead of having to look out on Twitter to see whether their favorite gamers is streaming, users can now go straight to YouTube Gaming and check for themselves with a single click. They can also go to special homepages YouTube has set up for every popular game to see a list of all the content related to that game, as well as all the users that are currently live-streaming its gameplay.
By serving up specially curated content on a portal dedicated to all things gaming, YouTube is transforming itself into the first meaningful competitor to Twich’s domination of live gaming content on the web. Also, with high frame rate streaming at 60fps, immediate DVR capabilities that allow newcomers to re-watch any parts of a stream they missed, and the ability for creators to automatically convert their live streams into YouTube videos, it seems YouTube may have an advantage over Twitch from a technical perspective.
YouTube Gaming will only be available for English-language content in the U.S. and U.K. at launch through YouTube’s website and iOS/Android apps, though more countries (and languages) will be introduced in the near future. It will also get a major push during this weekend’s PAX Prime in Seattle, where it will exclusively stream a live show hosted by GameSpot, IGN, and RoosterTeeth. A clear jab at Twitch’s live-streaming plans for their upcoming TwitchCon.
The YouTube Gaming launch will be fairly quiet and without fanfare because it’s, officially speaking, still in beta. But by making it available to over half a billion people it seems they’re confident in their own efforts. The only question is, will the gamers they rely on share that sentiment?