YouTube will no longer maintain a separate application targeting games and live game streaming, the company announced today. The YouTube Gaming app, which first arrived in 2015, will be phased out next spring as its many features make their way to the main YouTube site.
Over the years, the YouTube Gaming app has been a place where YouTube has experimented with features aimed at game makers and viewers who enjoy watching live and recorded esports. Here, he tested things like game pages to make games more discoverable, Super Chat, and channel subscriptions – features that Amazon-owned game streaming site Twitch had also popularized among the gaming community.
Some features of YouTube Gaming have become so well received that the company has integrated them into YouTube. For example, in June, YouTube introduced channel subscriptions on its main site. And before that, he had also brought Super Chat – a way for creators to make money from live broadcasts – to his wider community.
But while gaming remains one of YouTube’s main verticals, no one was really using the standalone YouTube Gaming app, according to the company.
“We have 200 million people who are online and watch game content every day,” Ryan Wyatt, director of game content and gaming partnerships for YouTube, told TechCrunch. “And frankly, the majority of them just don’t use the YouTube Gaming app for their gaming experiences,” he says.
However, Sensor Tower data shows the app has had over 11 million installs on iOS and Android, and those installs have remained consistent over time. This indicates that a large number of people were at least willing to try the app. But the company also found that its daily users were a “tiny fraction” of Twitch on iOS, confirming Wyatt’s point about lack of use.
Instead, gamers log into YouTube to watch games, Wyatt explains.
They also watch a lot of video games: In the past twelve months, fans have streamed over 50 billion hours of video game content, and YouTube has over 50 billion hours of video game content. 500,000 active live game streamers per quarter.
In other words, YouTube’s decision to remove the standalone app shouldn’t be seen as an admission that it is ceding that space to Twitch, but rather that it is now deciding to use the power of the flagship app. of YouTube to better compete.
On this front, the company is today launching a new YouTube Gaming destination at youtube.com/games. The destination is first available in the United States and will roll out worldwide in the coming months.
A link to the new vertical will appear in the left navigation bar, where you’ll find other top-level sections such as Trends and Subscriptions.
The Gaming destination will feature personalized content at the top of the page, based on what you like to watch, as well as the best live games, the latest game videos from your subscriptions, and dedicated shelves for live streams and trending videos. .
Another feature, “Video Game Creator on the Rise,” will highlight up and coming video game makers who are still trying to build an following. It is something that numerous say is still a problem on Amazon-owned Twitch – often their debut are spent on streaming to anyone. They quickly find that they need the blessing of an existing influencer to get more viewers to their channel.
Wyatt also points out that YouTube Gaming will not be limited to live broadcasts.
“The other thing we learned in this process is that the game app and the narrative around it was very live-oriented. Everyone was always talking about the live streaming and the live games, ”he says. “But what it did was under-serve the vast game
Business. So by moving it to the main YouTube, you have this nice combination of the two live game streams that continue to grow massively on YouTube, as well as all the other VOD content on the platform.
However, there are still a few things missing from YouTube’s new gaming destination. Most notably, the ability to live stream gameplay directly from your phone.
That’s why the YouTube Gaming app won’t go away immediately. Instead, it will stick around until March or maybe even April 2019, while YouTube works to move the experience to its main site and app.
“We’re still working on it,” Wyatt admits, when asked how the live streaming component would get to YouTube proper. “We haven’t decided whether [live game streaming] will be there by March, but we need a solution for easy mobile capture from the phone, ”he says.
The YouTube Gaming app was never a global release, as it was only available in certain markets, let’s note. The YouTube Gaming vertical will finally be launched worldwide. This might make it harder for Twitch to do this because they are tapping into the eyeballs of YouTube’s 1.8 billion users, while expanding to take advantage of other new YouTube features such as Premieres or Merchandise.
“This is a great opportunity to use these features,” Wyatt notes of the move from YouTube Gaming to YouTube proper. “And we’re going to keep creating more features that will really lend themselves to life, but at the end of the day, we’ll also be thinking about some really unique ways to apply them to VOD,” he says.