YouTube Gaming has officially powered up.
Gaming.youtube.com launched at 6pm today as the video giant looks to take on a growing number of rivals.
Amazon-owned Twitch has dominated the live-streaming arena when it comes to gaming content, putting the pixellated ball in YouTube’s court.
Gaming has become an increasingly key part of YouTube’s online presence, from let’s plays and walkthroughs to music videos and a whole lot of Minecraft. Indeed, Felix Kjellberg’s PewDiePie channel and Minecraft channel The Diamond Minecart are two of the most popular channels on the site.
Now, YouTube has responded to its rival by aggregating all of this content in one dedicated site just for gamers.
The newly designed platform places a central emphasis on live videos on the homepage, with two bars either side of the screen allowing users to navigate either by game or channel (including both game publishers and YouTube creators).
Users are able to add a game to their collection to keep up to date with the latest videos. Searches are also limited to gaming content, allowing fans to locate relevant videos without YouTube’s gargantuan library getting in the way.
The site arrives after a wave of updates for YouTube’s back-end, including 60fps streams, DVR (allowing users to rewind live feeds via a buffer), and automatically converting gamers’ streams into a YouTube video. Creators no longer need to schedule a live event ahead of time, with subscribers notified of new live streams. All streams will also be able to be shared via a single link.
“We wanted to create a one-stop shop for all gaming content,” YouTube’s head of gaming, Ryan Wyatt, told the BBC.
“At the moment there is a fragmented experience. People go to different places for live content, and YouTube for video on demand. We have amazing gamers that don’t live stream yet. Now they have that opportunity.”
One major difference between YouTube and Twitch is the site’s already established copyright detection system. Content ID will terminator broadcasts if “third-party content” such as music is detected, Wyatt tells the BBC. Of course, that third-party content includes video game footage, although most developers embrace the PR opportunity that goes with having their game streamed live to users around the world.
Wyatt is keen to emphasise that YouTube “doesn’t change”, though, with casual viewers still able to tune into gaming videos on the traditional site.