Facebook may be improving its video offerings, but YouTube continues to level up its gaming platform this week, with a host of new updates.
YouTube Gaming was launched earlier this year to combat rival Twitch, building upon an already substantial community of video game fans on the site. Indeed, YouTube says that now more than 144 billion minutes of gaming videos and live streams on YouTube – the equivalent of watching “Let’s Play” videos 24 hours a day for more than 270,000 years in a row.
The dedicated site, though, has been lagging behind the Amazon-owned competition in terms of features for both users and publishers. Now, Google is catching up with a string of upgrades.
The main addition is the launch of mobile capture, allowing people to live-stream their gaming footage on the go. The feature was first introduced by Twitch last year, while YouTube announced it as coming soon at the Tokyo Game Show. Now, Android users can stream mobile gamble without any additional hardware or software.
Income for publishers remains a key focus for YouTube, as it helps to both retain creators and attract them from other sites. And so, just as Twitch already offers subscription options, YouTube has announced “Fan Funding and Sponsorships”, which allows users to pay $3.99 a month to become a sponsor of a channel, receiving benefits such as exclusive chat sessions. This is currently in beta testing with “a small group of creators” but the list of channels will “continually expand”.
Smaller updates include easier video bookmarking with a “Watch Later” function and better search navigation on iOS by remembering users’ previous searches.