YouTube has played an integral role in the growing popularity of ‘Let’s Play’ videos that highlight gameplay and the reactions of the gamer playing them. It’s also proven to be a multi-million dollar business, as shown by Pewdiepie’s $4 million dollars of advertising revenue in 2013.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Google and YouTube were so eager to acquire Twitch that they were willing to spend $1 Billion to do so. While they ultimately lost Twitch to Amazon, they haven’t given up on live streaming.
According to The Daily Dot, YouTube has already assembled a team of fifty engineers to work on revitalizing the existing YouTube Live service. While Twitch is the younger of the two services, YouTube’s service has struggled to gain popularity, and all links to it vanished from the main page in 2014.
YouTube’s live streaming service has collected some accolades, like hosting the U.S. Presidential Debate in 2012, but never made much headway in other categories, like gaming. In this attempted reboot of the service, YouTube is apparently pursuing gaming and eSports streaming in particular:
“Gaming and esports in particular are going to be a big driving force for the new-look YouTube Live… 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.”
Being able to watch pre-recorded Let’s Play videos and live streams on the same site would undoubtedly be convenient for many fans. However, it also raises the question of how this will affect YouTube’s rules regarding copyrighted material. While many Let’s Play channels have flourished, YouTube has also created controversy by removing videos or suspending gaming channels due to copyright infringements. Gamers have already experienced Twitch cracking down on unauthorized audio in video streams, so some may be wary that YouTube could simply pull entire streams or hit channels with warnings or suspensions for playing the wrong games.
There’s no guarantee that YouTube Live will spell the end for Twitch. Google has tried to take on established services before, like creating Google+ to counter Facebook, and failed miserably. Twitch is also well-entrenched in the gaming community already, with easy ways to stream directly to the service from both the PS4 and the Xbox One, and its crowd-based “Twitch Plays” series.
YouTube will also have to worry about more than just Twitch, as other services have beaten them to the punch. DailyMotion and Steam have both recently introduced alternatives to Twitch specifically aimed at the gaming community.
Do you think that YouTube Live will spell the end of Twitch, or is there room for more than one streaming service?