On Wednesday YouTube launched their new platform – YouTube Gaming. Having been available for a while to a number of beta users, YouTube Gaming is now public, albeit to a relatively no-frills launch. Launched as a direct competitor to video game streaming behemoth Twitch, what does YouTube Gaming offer and are there any key differences compared to Twitch?
YouTube Gaming and the YouTube brand
This is not the first time that YouTube have split the brand. Before YouTube Gaming we’ve had YouTube Kids and the YouTube Music Key, which ties into Google Music. Both of these offer a more tailored window on content which is already available, YouTube Gaming is no different! You can still watch gaming videos, it’s just that YouTube Gaming will offer a more focussed view which helps users find relevant content faster.
Bringing the most relevant content to the fore
Realistically, both Twitch and YouTube Gaming do a very similar job of bringing interesting content to the user quickly. The benefit that some users might get from YouTube Gaming will come if they’ve already been using YouTube to watch their gaming videos. As someone who has watched a number of video on Codemasters’ new F1 2015 title before launch, I was presented with a number of relevant streams and videos as soon as I logged in to YouTube Gaming. I wouldn’t have had the same from Twitch. Of course, if you’re a Twitch user already then this benefit is mitigated somewhat by the fact you’re likely already being served relevant content!
Gaming videos, but less geeky
Whichever way you skin it, Twitch is a dedicated video game streaming platform and therefore guaranteed to be seen as more video game geeky; this is a double edged sword. For some, that will remain as one of their biggest draws! For others, the fact that YouTube is an established platform for videos generally will help make video game videos more mainstream. It may well be the case that Twitch even see an uplift from some segments because of YouTube Gaming as people who previously wouldn’t have watched live streams of Call of Duty suddenly realise they can!
However, YouTube Gaming offers the well-known and incredibly robust YouTube platform as its base. Something which might help it win out in the end.
YouTube Gaming – the same, but different
Essentially, YouTube Gaming is a version of Twitch but built over the top of the excellent, existing YouTube framwork. YouTube have said they’ve made a number of improvements to the way in which they stream live video to account for this new service and it will be interesting to see how it grows in the coming weeks. Certainly, Twitch will be keeping a close eye on the numbers which they see and how those are being affected.