In a move to compete with Twitch.tv, the leading video game streaming platform, Google launched YouTube Gaming ( Wednesday, a new site that features people live streaming the games they play, instructional walk-throughs and much more.
The site has been in the works for almost a year and YouTube clearly wants to capitalize on the explosive growth in video game watching as a spectator sport. Much of that growth has been fuelled by competitive video gaming, known as e-sports, which are already huge in Asia and growing in North America.
YouTube Gaming is squarely aimed at Twitch.tv, a video game live-streaming site which was bought in August last year by Amazon for $970 million (U.S.). Google was reportedly also interested in purchasing that site, but Amazon beat them out.
There is big money in people watching video games, and while there were already many popular "Let's Play" videos on the site, YouTube decided to break it out into its own dedicated vertical. According to a Google spokesperson, YouTube Gaming will feature more than 25,000 games. The online video site has seen people spending 75 per cent more time watching gaming video this year compared with last year.
YouTube is still one of the leaders in streaming music online, and its game viewing was also already popular, with online video analytics firm OpenSlate reporting that the 10 most popular games channels on the original YouTube generated more than 2.2 billion monthly video views.