YouTube Gaming and Google's Future of Game Streaming

YouTube, the world’s largest online streaming video platform, has virtually endless content to consume. It’s a place for creators find and reach their audience through video content, whether it’s trending or ultra-specific. Its largest niche, by far? Video gaming. Gaming videos are so prevalent on the platform that Google has created a one-stop spot on YouTube just for the specific industry.


YouTube Gaming was originally launched as a dedicated destination site for all things gaming. Now its home is where it belongs: It’s own section on YouTube itself. It’s clear that the offshoot was a response to Twitch, the long-time gaming streaming king, which is owned by Amazon. Still, YouTube Gaming is but one arm of several attached to the platform, and it’s poised to grow even more with the introduction of some new Google services to be released later this year.

Below, we’re going to give you the details on YouTube Gaming and what you can expect to see from it in the coming months.


YouTube Gaming: What is it and why is it important?


Launched as a standalone site in 2015, YouTube Gaming is a branch of YouTube, dedicated for streaming your video games or watching said streams. Alongside the introduction, was a mobile app, not unlike the official YouTube app. However, in May of 2019, the app and dedicated site was shuttered by Google, and the gaming section was reintroduced as a section within the main YouTube website.

Even before YouTube Gaming existed, many users sought out gaming videos and tutorials on YouTube and the growth has been exponential. In 2018 alone, the streaming site saw 200 million logged-in daily users watching gaming content. Not only that, but over 50 billions hours of gaming watch time was recorded for the year as well. That’s a lot of content being viewed, so it’s no wonder Google gives special attention to gaming.


Accessing YouTube Gaming


So how do you get to the dedicated gaming section of YouTube? Easy!

From the YouTube homepage, scroll down until you see the “More from YouTube” section on the left-hand side bar. Gaming should be under this list. Alternatively, you can just as easily go to youtube.com/gaming and arrive at the same place.

Once at YouTube Gaming, the experience is simple and streamlined. Since this is YouTube, you should be fairly familiar with how to navigate the page for the most part. The page will show you the top live-streamed games so you can easily find a stream to view. As you scroll down, you’ll find recommended videos and channels based on your subscriptions and view history, as well as top streams that are currently live, trending videos, and even channels of up and coming streamers on the rise.


Game pages

YouTube Gaming offers a unique way to find content and stay up to date with your favorite games in the form of dedicated game pages. When you’re watching a video about a particular game, you’ll find the game title under the description, with a link to “Browse Game,” which will open the gaming page.

Game pages offer a wealth of content for the particular game in a single place — if related material has indeed been created for it. You’ll be able to sift through recommended videos, live videos, recent videos, “Let’s Play” videos (more personal, often funny game walkthrough), official videos from the game developer, and an “Explore” section that allows you to funnel down a bit more. Even better, you can subscribe to a game, just as you would any YouTube channel.


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Starting and sharing your channel

Looking to start your own YouTube Gaming channel? Well, the process is as simple as starting your own, regular YouTube channel. Of course, there’s a lot more to the process than just making a channel. Luckily, the Creator Academy has some helpful tips on how to make your channel stand out from the crowd.

Once you have your channel up and running, it doesn’t have to be confined to YouTube! You can easily sync your channel to your website so your site visitors stay up to date with your live and past streams in more than one place.


Google Stadia to reinvigorate YouTube Gaming


In early 2019, Google announced its plans to release its very own cloud-based game streaming service, called Stadia. The service eliminates the need for a powerful PC or console to play games — all you need is the Chrome browser, Chromecast, or one of the supported devices at launch to play popular graphics-intensive games. No more expensive hardware or downloading games. Yes, the idea is very interesting itself, but it’s Stadia’s tight integration with YouTube that will please both game streamers and viewers.

The official Stadia gaming controller offers a button that allows a player to begin streaming the game directly to YouTube, but that’s not the interesting bit. Stadia offers a feature called State Share, which essentially saves your exact position in the game, inventory, and other key elements and turns them into a shareable link. This link can be sent to one person or thousands of people via your YouTube channel and when clicked, users will be able to instantly start playing the game at that specific point. Crazy geeky cool.

Another way Google is bringing YouTube to its gaming platform comes in the form of Crowd Play, which connects creators and their fans more than ever. Stadia’s Crowd Play allows a streamer playing a multiplayer game to let viewers watching the stream on YouTube to join in. Someone watching the stream can click a button on the video and instantly be placed into a queue to play alongside the streamer.

So while it’s very much its own service, Stadia heavily relies on YouTube. This can only bolster the YouTube Gaming audience in the long run, but also has the potential to be truly game-changing for YouTube itself. As Mashable puts it: “If the platform lands the way the company hopes, it may also change the YouTube creator ecosystem.”


YouTube Gaming vs. Twitch


While YouTube Gaming is growing, it still has quite a bit to go before catching up to its biggest competitor, Twitch. Not only does the Amazon-owned Twitch have a couple of years on YouTube’s gaming initiative, but it’s the clear winner in terms of sheer volume of users.

Newzoo conducted a study in January 2019 by using its own Game Stream Tracker, which follows live viewing and streaming behavior across both Twitch and YouTube, and it came out with some interesting findings.

Twitch has an average of nearly 13,000 streamers per day, while YouTube Gaming only had about 4,500.

Twitch Streamers are more likely to stream longer, with an average of 29.8 minutes. The YouTube Gaming streaming average was 21 minutes.

Mobile-Game Streamers are more likely to stream on YouTube vs. Twitch.


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