YouTube has an answer for the video game streaming platform Twitch. The video hosting giant recently unveiled YouTube Gaming, a new app and website launching this summer featuring videos and live streams. It will debut first in the U.S. and the U.K., then roll out to other territories.
YouTube Gaming will feature individual pages for more than 25,000 games, from Asteroids to Zelda, listing videos and live streams for each title. It will also feature channels for a wide selection of game publishers and YouTube creators. Users will be notified whenever one of the channels they subscribe to starts a live stream.
For the last several months, YouTube has been rumored to be working on a response to Twitch, which has become a force in the gaming community, earning some top users six-figure paydays for their live-streamed game play according to an article in Forbes. In August 2014, Amazon purchased Twitch for $970 million in cash, a few months after rumors surfaced that YouTube’s parent company Google was offering a billion dollars to buy the company.
While the popularity of Twitch’s live streams may be what’s inspiring YouTube to change its approach to gaming, its traffic numbers are small by comparison. According to audience measurements from Quantcast, Twitch ranked #225 on the list of top viewed sites in the U.S. in the past month, with 7.14 million visitors, while YouTube ranked second, directly behind Google, with 188 million visitors. And YouTube has no problem attracting gamers. A study released in December by social marketing and online video rights management company Zefr, found video games were far and away the most popular of any vertical on the platform.
Last month, YouTube added 60 fps live streaming capabilities, and, according to a blog post, in the coming weeks it will announce additional features to make it easier for users to broadcast their gameplay, including the ability to initiate live events without scheduling them ahead of time and create a single links to share all their streams.