YouTube has issued a direct challenge Twitch TV with the announcement of a new standalone app specifically for gamers, scheduled to debut in the US and UK this summer.
Like Twitch, which has recently become a revelation for poker players, as well as a platform for many of the biggest names in the game to live stream their sessions, YouTube Gaming will be purely a destination for gamers seeking game playthrough videos and live streams.
The app is looking to emulate the success of Twitch, which was acquired by Amazon late last year for $970 million after just three years in operation.
It now boasts 100 million users who watch 1.5 million broadcasters a month and has become a favorite medium of stars like Daniel Negreanu and Jason Somerville, whose live streams have quickly built up huge audiences.
No More “Poker Face”
YouTube, which is owned by Google, demonstrated the product ahead of this weeks’ Electronic Entertainment Expo in LA.
Product designer Jonathan Terleski showed how a user who begins searching for the word “call” on the YouTube Gaming app would receive top results relating to the hit video game series Call of Duty, rather than Carly Rae Jepsen’s catchy but less relevant Call Me Maybe. Likewise, a user searching for the word “poker” would presumably not be inundated with Lady Gaga videos.
“Despite the crazy usage that gaming drives on YouTube, we’ve never really built gamers the experience that they deserve,” said Ryan Wyatt, YouTube’s global head of gaming content. “That’s something that changes today.
“YouTube Gaming is built from the ground up for gamers, by gamers,” said Wyatt. “No longer is gaming going to be lost in a sea of content. We’re unleashing a brand-new user experience that puts games front and center. That includes live gaming, as well.”
Twitch Welcomes the Competition
YouTube said the app and site will also facilitate live competitive gaming by creating links that can be easily shared, removing the need to schedule and promote live broadcasts. It will feature individual pages dedicated to more than 25,000 games.
Matthew DiPietro, Twitch’s vice president of marketing, said he welcomed the new entrants to the market. “Gaming video is obviously a huge market that others have their eye on,” said DiPietro. “It inspires us to work even harder to make the community proud.”
“The way you reach a gamer today is very different than the way you would 20 or even 10 years ago,” said Michael Gallagher, president of the Electronic Software Association, which organizes Electronic Entertainment Expo. “It’s more direct. The consumers want the experience of video game debuts through the eyes and voices of true gamers… It’s another example how the industry has matured and grown beyond traditional forms of media.”