In an unexpected move we see YouTube entering the long non-contested market of online game streaming. YouTube is getting more serious about gaming and everyone else should too. This summer, the video streaming service will launch YouTube Gaming, a new app and website dedicated to video game content: Let’s Plays, livestreams, speedruns and more. After providing a preview of their 60fps streaming service just last month, YouTube has officially announced today the next step in their broadcasting expansion. This comes as a surprise to some people but industry veterans know the history behind all these happenings. Some may even remember the first attempt Google made to get into providing a streaming service last year around May when they were in talks to buy Twitch. Sadly or gladly depending on how you look at it the deal fell through due to trust issues that Google had with Twitch. Amazon came in and scooped up Twitch with open arms for approximately $970 million in cash a few months after Google was out of the picture. For the longest time Twitch has been the go to platform for streaming video game and more in general benefiting from a popularity monopoly on the industry. Over the years many companies have come and tried to go toe to toe with Twitch such as USTREAM, HITBOX.TV, Veetle.com, Livestream.com, and Azubu.tv just to name a few. If you don’t know of these its probably because they have fallen under the exponential popularity of Twitch. Next up to bat; Youtube Gaming:
Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month and now Google wants in on that potential market share. YouTube’s global head of gaming partnerships, Ryan Wyatt, recognizes the growing importance of gaming for online video and really hopes to deliver the experience that gamers deserve. He goes on to comment at the announcement event that the platform has been “built from the ground up for gamers by gamers,” promising that “no longer is gaming going to be lost in a sea of content.” Product manager Barbara Macdonald showed off YouTube’s improvements for live streamers at the announcement event showing off the streamlined process that only requires a few clicks to set up. One of the more notable features that she highlighted was that YouTube Gaming will let streamers enable DVR so viewers can rewind live broadcasts, and a new low latency streaming option will let streamers “really interact with [their] fans while gaming.” YouTube says it will launch YouTube Gaming in the U.S. and U.K. this summer.
Competition is good but I don’t think they’re going to chip away at Twitch’s core market/audience. Given the sense of community that Twitch operates on it will be quite the tall feat for Youtube To snatch away a viable portion of its target demographic. That said however if anyone can do it it would be Google so we definitely have interesting times ahead to look forward to. They have the money, they have the technology so only hiccup I see would be copyright infringements as a potential issue. If they can circumvent this in some manner it will be quite a big deal to the communities of gamers. Another viable option to appeal to users will be how they handle advertisement placement and revenue but given we have much to still learn I look forward to more information. I will definitely be exploring it as an alternative to Twitch once it goes live to the world.