Gaming On-The-Go is a weekly series that explores the mobile gaming industry, as well as uncovering current trends, with hands-on guides for the latest smartphone and tablet games.
Game streaming is not a new concept. Gamers have been broadcasting themselves playing a video game for quite some time now; however, the practice has been gaining in popularity thanks to the rise of Twitch, the video game content streaming app that launched with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
While Amazon beat out YouTube to acquire Twitch, the popular platform will now have some competition, because YouTube has stepped onto the scene.
Chances are, if you are a gamer, you have watched a gaming-related video on YouTube before. Still, Twitch has dominated the video game streaming market, with 1.5 million broadcasters and two million viewers. On average, each user spends 106 minutes watching streamed content per day on the platform. What makes Twitch work is its ability to brings viewers, fans, broadcasters, game developers and publishers together in one platform so that they may share the gaming experience via livestreams and chats.
However, gamers might just want to check out Twitch's new competition — YouTube Gaming. For this very same reason, YouTube Gaming may be the next big thing for the gaming community.
YouTube previously announced its plans to release its very own app and website that will consolidate gaming news, reviews and live videos all into one platform. Now, the company has officially launched the YouTube Gaming app and website on Wednesday.
With over 25,000 game pages and even more channels, gamers will be able to use YouTube Gaming on the desktop, iOS and Android devices as a hub for everything gaming. The platform features Let's Play videos that include the walkthroughs of games such as Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, tips and tricks for games like Counter-Strike Global Offensive, new video game trailers, along with livestreams and personalized recommendations based on the channels the user follows.
The platform also makes it easier for gamers to create a livestream — its highlighted feature — by automatically detecting the stream resolution and frame rate, lowering the resolutions when the user is live so all fans can seamlessly watch regardless of what device they are using. Users can interact with their viewers using live chat (which automatically appears to the left when a gamer clicks on the video), are provided with a real-time Analytics section and can share the livestream link across social media platforms.
Users can also set up the live stream themselves, first by downloading and setting up their encoder, adding metadata in the Basic Info add, adding a game title and setting to streaming to be either Low Latency or Highest Quality. It's recommended to use Low Latency to be closer to real-time streaming and Highest Quality for the smoothest viewing experience. Once the user stops sending content, the livestream will end.
YouTube Gaming's interface looks similar for both the desktop and mobile versions. When the user enters the platform, they are presented with some featured channels, followed by some more popular channels.
Users can use the search bar to see related videos, livestreams and channels based on the title, clicking on the star to favor and add to the game or channel to the top of their list. Once the user favors games and channels, they will appear under the featured livestreams on the homepage in a organized fashion.
There is also a "Games" tab — located on the left on the desktop version — where gamers can see a list of the most popular and games trending now to favor. Twitch similarly has this feature on its platform that allows gamers to know what games are currently trending.
The same applies to the "Channel" tab, which is located on the right. In the mobile versions, these tabs are displayed on opposite sides of the home tab, located right underneath the livestream window, allowing for easy navigation.
YouTube recently made some updates to enhance its streaming capabilities, including shifting to HTML5 from Flash, and the videos now stream at a high frame rate of 60 frames per second. There is also the ability to pause the livestream in YouTube Gaming and go back to replay a part that the user might have missed.
What the platform has working for it is YouTube's immense backlog of gaming videos. YouTube is already known for the amount of gaming videos that are uploaded on the site. According to the YouTube analytics specialists Tubular, 15 percent of all uploads on the site are game-related, with gaming on YouTube getting 364 billion views.
"Gaming is already a massive vertical on YouTube, but also a great opportunity. Every month people watch billions of hours of gaming content on YouTube, and gaming watchtime grew 75 percent over last year. We succeed when our partners succeed, and we want creators to have access to resources that will help them develop their channels," Ryan Wyatt, Global Head of Gaming Content at YouTube told Tech Times in an email. "Also, gamers are one of the most vibrant and diverse communities on YouTube, and we are very excited to introduce a product designed to meet their needs."
According to YouTube, more than half of YouTube gaming views are on mobile devices. With that said, it only makes sense to integrate all things gaming into one convenient app, so that when the gamer searches for "Call," the game Call of Duty pops up and not the viral video for that Carly Rea Jepsen song.
YouTubers like PewDiePie (a top gaming creator) will now be able to air livestreams for their existing followers to further enhance their content, with the ability to talk directly to fans — not to mention the ability to gain new fans that search for whatever game the channel is discussing.
Even if you are a loyal Twitch user, YouTube Gaming is worth checking out since it is another platform that helps gamers of all ages and from all around the world connect and discuss things they are most passionate about — gaming.
Gamers can download YouTube Gaming for free in the U.S. and UK on iOS and Android, or check out the desktop version here.