Google announces YouTube Gaming. Will the app grab online gamers' attention?
This summer, YouTube will launch YouTube Gaming, a channel for gamers to stream and broadcast games and e-sports. Many see this as Google's direct attack on Twitch, a popular video game streaming service.
Los Angeles — YouTube is seeking to win over gamers.
The online video giant announced plans ahead of next week's Electronic Entertainment Expo to launch a separate app and site specifically for fans of video games.
YouTube product manager Alan Joyce said in a statement Friday that YouTube Gaming will be a destination for users to find gaming videos, live streams and Internet personalities. The app and site will feature individual pages dedicated to more than 25,000 games.
Joyce noted that if a user began searching for the word "call" on the YouTube Gaming app, the military shooter "Call of Duty," not the Carly Rae Jepsen tune "Call Me Maybe" would appear first.
YouTube will also seek to make it easier for users to broadcast live and competitive gaming, known as e-sports, by creating singular links that can be shared and removing the need to schedule a broadcast.
"When I look at where YouTube is weaker in the gaming content space, I think live and e-sports," said Ryan Wyatt, YouTube's global head of gaming content, in an interview last month. "In the coming weeks, you're going to see us make improvements to our live product, and we do want to invest in e-sports from a content perspective. In some ways, it's still nascent, but there is something to say about the future of e-sports, and we definitely want to be part of it."
The move by Google-owned YouTube takes direct aim at Twitch, the gaming-centric streaming video site acquired by Amazon last year for nearly $1 billion. While YouTube remains the dominant online video site, Twitch has solidified itself over the past three years as a destination to stream gameplay from such titles as "League of Legends" and "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive." Twitch now boasts 100 million users who watch 1.5 million broadcasters a month.
YouTube Gaming is scheduled to debut this summer in the U.S. and U.K. The app and site will be previewed at YouTube's booth on the E3 show floor beginning Tuesday.