Most internet denizens are pretty familiar with Twitch, but for those who aren’t, let me give you a quick rundown. Twitch was first launched in 2011 as a website devoted to live-streaming video game playthroughs and broadcasts of emerging American e-sports competitions, among other things. Twitch enjoys tens of millions of visitors every week, and was recently bought by e-commerce giant Amazon.com for $970 million in 2014. It seems like everyone on the internet has been on their site at one time or another. Even your humble Nerd Stash writers have a dedicated Twitch channel. With so many users and viewers and almost total market saturation, who would dare wade into cutthroat world of video game live-streaming?
Google, of course.
Well, to be specific, YouTube has announced the advent of YouTube Gaming in advance of the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California next week. Being one of the largest live and recorded video sites on the internet, YouTube executives have decided it is time to focus on the various gaming communities.
“YouTube is the best video game site out there,” said Ryan Watt, the service’s head of gaming content, from a press event in Los Angeles. “But we never built gamers the experience they deserve.”
YouTube’s focus on gamers isn’t all about creating a community for them to broadcast themselves. There’s a substantial advertising market that they are looking to tap into through these new series of channels. Via CNET.com:
“If you’re running around in a horror game and all of sudden there’s a gleaming Coke machine, it throws off the narrative,” said Joost van Dreunen, CEO of game analytics firm SuperData Research. “But advertisers know their way around sponsoring sports. People who watch sports are comfortable with watching advertisements.”
But that does’t mean this new site won’t be beneficial for gamers. The popularity of YouTube, coupled with Google’s constant innovation will signal nothing but good things for the gaming community. This may lead to more gamers who can actually make a living off of broadcasting their streams, like YouTube sensation PewDiePie who has more than 37 million followers and earns a reported $4 million a year in advertising revenue.
Although most gamers can’t hope to enjoy the same level of success as PewDiePie, this may still be a way for some people to make a little extra money doing the thing they love. All with the power of Google and YouTube behind them.