In August 2015 YouTube launched a dedicated platform just for gaming content. Today the YouTube Gaming app has been launched on iOS and Android in Australia, with the desktop version scoring an upgrade as well.
"YouTube Gaming is an app that keeps you connected to the games, players, and culture that matter to you, with videos, live streams, and the biggest community of gamers on the web—all in one place," said Ines Cha, Head of YouTube Gaming Content & Partnerships, Asia Pacific.
To say that gaming is a large part of the YouTube landscape is an understatement. Over 144 billion minutes of gaming content is viewed on YouTube every single month. If just search for "gaming" in YouTube, you'll get over 22.5 million results.
So, why? YouTube is already big, there's clearly already a lot of gaming content on there -- why make an additional app? YouTube says there are three main reasons.
"We really wanted to create an experience that was personalised specifically by gamers, for gamers," a spokesperson for YouTube told Gizmodo. "The business team, the partnerships team, the engineers -- these are gamers that are creating an experience for gamers and it feels very authentic. We are working very closely with creators and publishers to identify areas of needs and what it means to create products for gamers specifically."
Much like YouTube, within the gaming app each creator has a channel, brought in from YouTube. The difference lies in the ability to surface content, bringing live and relevant content to the forefront. Different broadcast sections, category tabs that are very specific to gaming "allowing the user to come into the channel, and consume that gaming content presented in a way that feels curated around the gamer's interests."
With 1080p60 live streaming, instant sharing to social media and chat, live content is getting a major push.
"Live is a platform which is something our creators and community have specifically asked for, so it makes a lot of sense to create this product for them. There's a lot of great content that's just inherently live. When you think of the E3 show or Gamescom live broadcast or you think about eSports -- these are all content forms that are live and without having a live product we forgo having that content for our community. We do a disservice to the community by not having that product."
Stopping live content being buried was a priority.
"One thing we found was difficult on YouTube was discovering live content. Now we the gaming app you can go right in and experience events that are happening and creators that are streaming game content. It's easy to find -- we elevate that content to the top."
New options are available for for monetisation whilst "live" as well. "We monetise content well, but we wanted to bring more and other areas to the platform, like fan funding that allows viewers to instantly donate to creators. Sponsorships allow a fan to pay a creator $3.99 a month that allows them access to a creator-decided "reward" like an emoticon, or a special chat."
You cam also clip highlights in real time. "So image you are doing a 3 hour live broadcast, but you just did a great play. While live-streaming you can snip the start and end time -- while still live -- and instantly export that into a VOD. All while still live streaming."
Chat moderation and real time analytics also helps creators to see how they are performing.
YouTube are also aiming to make it easier to stream mobile content. "The mobile industry accounts for a third of the revenue coming in -- we feel we can do more. Now you can mobile capture any game you want. Because mobile capture has been difficult we felt it was important to remove the barriers. We feel mobile content will emerge in a more meaningful way now that it's easier to access that content." This functionality is currently only available on Android.
You can expect to see YouTube Gaming rocking up at more events.
"We wanted to start being where our creators and where our fans are at. We went to a lot of different gaming events -- E3, Gamescom, PAX -- we want to continue to do that. We feel it's important to be at the epicentre of where our creators are at and where our fans are at, and making sure we make that connection bridging the gap between creator and fans. We do it from a platform standpoint, and we want to do it physically."
So What's New?
When you open the app, you'll be asked to add some games to your "collection". This will help curate the content that you see within the platform.
The first tab on the main page is "Home". At the top is a side scroll or "carousel" of live videos from channels you subscribe for. Below is a list of recommended videos based on your viewing history, followed by a "Spotlight" of content curated by YouTube, then a list of "Trending" videos that have been going viral in the last few days.
The next tab is "Games". Is shows the games you've added to your "collection", along with some recommendations you can simply tap to add. Those games have a dedicated game page -- there are 25,000 on YouTube Gaming so far. They tell you about the game itself, show trailers, any live broadcasts, Let's Play's and reviews.
The third tab is "Channels". It shows your subscriptions in a side scroll, with recent uploads below.
The last tab is "Live". It will show which of your subscriptions is live right now, the top live games, the most popular games -- and you can refine the search to just channels from your region. You'll get a notification when any of your subscribers go live.
While mobile gaming capture is only available on Android at present, YouTube says that is because "the structure of the API's and the libraries made it easier to build" and the capability on iOS is a future goal.