YouTube Live to reportedly relaunch, focus on game streaming

25 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google may revamp YouTube live streaming as a games-focused Twitch competitor.

Remember when everyone thought YouTube was about to buy games-streaming service Twitch last year—like, really thought it was going to happen—and then the deal fell apart at the last second and somehow Amazon emerged with the big purple crown? Tech site Daily Dot says sources claim that YouTube has been interested in live game streaming since its owner, Google, allegedly bid for Twitch last May.Google-owned YouTube is set to go head-to-head with Amazon’s Twitch in a battle for the gamer live-streaming audience with the upcoming reveal of YouTube Live at E3 in June, sources have told The Daily Dot.When Google lost out on a planned acquisition of Twitch to Amazon, it was inevitable that wouldn’t be the tech giant’s last foray into the livestreaming business.

The Daily Dot reports that in the wake of its stymied buyout, YouTube has apparently decided to relaunch its own streaming-service YouTube Live as a games-oriented Twitch competitor. Speaking at the Guardian’s Changing Media conference in March, Twitch chief executive Emmett Shear suggested that he favoured Amazon as it promised the site creative freedom. As a result YouTube has invested heavily in its own answer to Twitch. “Gaming and esports in particular are going to be a big driving force for the new-look YouTube Live,” one source said. “There’ll be huge opportunities for established streamers and organizations soon and I would say that the record numbers of esports viewers are only going to grow when Google start promoting and partnering with these events.” YouTube is said to have begun recruiting a Live team of 50 engineers with expertise in streaming, with one source stating it “is a pretty big statement of intent”. “The time is right as well, with Twitch moving into other areas such as music and so on.

A number of key YouTube personalities have already incorporated Twitch broadcasting into their business, earning money from live gameplay footage to supplement the cash they earn from Google’s AdSense program with YouTube. The company launched its own live-streaming platform in 2010 and has since broadcast large events such as the 2015 State of the Union address via the White House’s YouTube channel. Despite the nearly $1 billion Amazon buyout last year, Twitch is still (to put it generously) hit and miss as far as streaming quality and chat delay are concerned. One need only take a cursory glance at Twitch’s top-viewed streamers and see that people are willing to donate thousands of dollars to one play session of a game such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or Dota 2, making it an enticing prospect for those looking to earn money from their gameplay, and not reliant upon people watching ads on their videos. And forgetting the technical side of things for a moment, the fact remains that a criminally small percentage of Twitch’s total talent gets paid through the Twitch Partners program.

There’s a reason most of the bigger names have stuck to uploading pre-recorded content to YouTube, even if that content is functionally similar to what could be accomplished on Twitch. Google has reportedly been keeping a close eye on the rise of livestreaming and eSports, with it believing that YouTube Live could be a great alternative to Twitch and potentially usurp it as the main destination for streamers. While YouTube was once the dominant space for video content creators, Facebook and Hulu are now attracting celebrities to upload videos directly to their sites, as Variety reported. Though YouTube has dabbled in livestreaming before, it remains an underutilized facet of the site in comparison to the heaps of pre-recorded footage uploaded every day.

It is thought that gaming – and especially eSports – will now provide the focus of a “YouTube Live” offering, putting the service in direct competition with Twitch. In fact, the biggest obstacle to YouTube catching on currently is Twitch’s marketing/presence at gaming events—people know Twitch does game video, so they keep using Twitch for game video.

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