Google’s Twitch rival, YouTube Gaming, launches today

Google’s YouTube Gaming, its answer to the Amazon-owned video game streaming service, has launched today, signifying the biggest addition to Google’s video streaming service since its launch ten years ago.

By visiting or downloading the Android and iOS app (which will be available soon via those links), users can see who’s streaming, start a stream themselves or just peruse the sleek and minimalist new interface Google has adopted for YouTube Gaming.

Google hopes that YouTube’s familiarity will help lead to its success over, which Amazon bought last year for a whopping $970 million. All video streams are handled via HTML5, can be recorded at 60fps and, unlike Twitch, users can even enable a “DVR Mode” allowing buffered playback of the last four hours of any stream.

Google announced the new service back in June, claiming that YouTube Gaming won’t focus solely on video-game streams. Google wants the new service to encompass a wide range of video-game culture from cosplay shows to game-themed cooking streams.

Think it’ll be hard to wade through the millions of gaming videos up on YouTube? Think again, as YouTube Gaming automatically categorises YouTube’s gaming-related content, sorting it by game and the type of video content on offer. Want a Sonic-themed cooking show? You’ll find it, even if you have no idea who might be streaming such a wonderful creation.

YouTube Gaming is the first streaming service that can really give Twitch a run for its money. Already many Twitch streamers save recordings of their shows onto YouTube to gain some additional revenue and for archiving purposes. YouTube Gaming now allows them to do it all in one place, and should hopefully lower the barrier of entry to new viewers who aren’t accustomed to using Twitch, but know YouTube like the back of their hand.

You may be wondering why YouTube is making such a fuss over video-game streaming, especially when many think of games as a niche activity. However, it’s worth remembering that YouTube’s biggest star is video-game streamer PewDiePie, sitting strong with 38.8 million subscribers.

This weekend also played host to the League of Legends North American Finals at Madison Square Gardens, NYC. While it’s currently unknown exactly how many attended and streamed online, last year’s World Finals event drew over 27 million viewers, with more than nine million of those watching through Twitch. Clearly YouTube hopes its new Gaming channel can capture this market, and also be used to stream other gaming events around the globe.

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