Belfast Telegraph

YouTube Gaming aiming to take on Twitch

By Katie Wright

Until now, Twitch, owned by the internet giant Amazon, has been the leader of online game streaming. But with the launch of YouTube Gaming, the reigning champ has got a battle on its hands.

It promises "the biggest community of gamers on the web" and it's already being hailed as a "Twitch killer" - YouTube Gaming has got a lot to live up to and it hasn't even launched yet.

Announced on the YouTube blog, the forthcoming platform wants to capitalise on the online gaming phenomenon and rival, the four-year-old site that was bought by Amazon last year and currently boasts 45 million users a month.

"From Asteroids to Zelda, more than 25,000 games will each have their own page, a single place for all the best videos and live streams about that title," says product manager Alan Joyce.

Fans will be able to keep up with their favourite gamers, like Felix Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie, the 25-year-old whose 37 million followers (more than any other channel on YouTube) tune in to watch him tackle the latest releases.

That's right, a large part of online gaming these days doesn't actually involve playing games; it's watching other people in what are known as "let's play", or "walkthrough" videos that rack up millions of views.

And with the new site, having everything in one place will mean more accurate searching, unburdened by the billions of other bytes generated on YouTube every day.

As Joyce puts it: "When you want something specific, you can search with confidence, knowing that typing 'call' will show you Call Of Duty and not Call Me Maybe."

Slated for summer 2015 - so any day now - the site will initially only be available in the UK and US at, where you can sign up now to be notified on launch day.

So should Twitch be quaking in its digital boots? It doesn't seem to be so far.

On Twitter, @Twitch responded with a zinger of a comeback to @YouTubeGaming's first tweet, writing, "Welcome Player 2. Add me on Google+" (in reference to parent company Google's much-derided social network).

But, behind that facade, Twitch bosses will likely be preparing for a major showdown. It was rumoured that Google attempted to take over Twitch in 2014 before it was eventually bought by Amazon for $970m, so now YouTube is focusing all its efforts in-house.

Coming later to the game, YouTube is actually at an advantage here as it's able to build on a well-established genre and improve on its existing features and attempt to lure the Twitch faithful away.

A bit of competition can only be a good thing - for gamers.

Belfast Telegraph