YouTube Gaming powers down as part of strategy reboot
James R | On 25, Sep 2018
YouTube has quietly powered down its YouTube Gaming this month, as it reboots its strategy around video games.
Gaming content has become a major part of the online streaming landscape From mobile gaming to strategy guides, Let’s Plays to Esports and charity live streams, 280 million people visit YouTube every day to watch gaming-related videos and streams – the equivalent of the whole population of Brazil. It was little surprise, then, that YouTube launched its own dedicated platform and app, YouTube Gaming, to cater to that audience and build up its audience of viewers – a direct step to compete with Amazon-owned Twitch.
Since then, though, YouTube Gaming has struggled to gain any traction among gamers, with Twitch performing better in app download charts and drawing in bigger crowds. Last week, YouTube announced that it would scrap YouTube Gaming as a standalone service, instead folding it into the main site under the URL YouTube.com/Gaming.
The move is a big step for the video giant, one that admits failure on one level, but also refocuses to capitalise on YouTube’s strengths: its sheer size and in-built community. Indeed, over the years, all the features introduced for YouTube Gaming (from Super Chat and Channel Memberships to the Dark Theme) have been incorporated into main overall site anyway.
“At the very top of the page you’ll see personalized gaming content based on what you like to watch. You’ll also see top live games and the latest gaming videos from your subscriptions, bringing the best of uploaded videos and live gaming to one destination. We’ve also built dedicated shelves for live streams and trending videos,” explains Christina Chen, Director of Product Management.
Games will also have their own pages, with themed content all collated into dedicated hubs, from live streams to other games from the same publisher or developer. Gaming creators who are “On The Rise” will also be highlights on the Gaming destination and in its Trending chart.
“We have a strong and vibrant audience on the YouTube Gaming app, but the amount of gamers we are able to reach is far bigger on YouTube,” says Chen. “After all, YouTube is where more than 200 million gamers come to engage with your favorite games and creators every day, watching over 50 billion hours of gaming content in the last 12 months alone. That’s why, in March 2019, we’ll retire the YouTube Gaming app and focus all of our gaming efforts on YouTube where we can reach our entire gaming community.”