Heads up, streaming community: Google is officially shutting down the standalone YouTube Gaming app and dedicated portal on May 30. The company announced the shutdown last year, saying that the app caused a "confusion" among gaming fans.
As a result, YouTube Gaming was absorbed by the main YouTube app, dedicating a special gaming-focused hub for it, even, and this has mostly replaced the core features of YouTube Gaming. No surprise, then, that the standalone app has no place anymore in YouTube's app slate.
YouTube Gaming Signing Off
In an updated help page, YouTube says YouTube Gaming fans should instead switch to the newer hub. The company has also merged YouTube and YouTube Gaming subscriptions, although subscribers will lose their list of saved games as a result.
"We launched YouTube Gaming as a standalone app for gamers where we tested out new features based on the gaming community's feedback," the page says. "We want to continue to build a stronger home for the gaming community that thrives on YouTube."
Unfortunately, there's no possible way for users to transfer games already saved on YouTube Gaming. As a workaround, YouTube suggests that subscribers combine their YouTube Gaming and normal YouTube subscriptions.
But losing saved games is a small loss compared to what creators might experience. One YouTube Gaming user, kwingsletsplays, who makes walkthroughs, has partnered with YouTube since 2009 and says his channel benefited from the standalone YouTube Gaming site. He worries that these changes will lead gamers getting lost in the shuffle, as Engadget reports.
"The new hub [doesn't have] a wide variety of games and genres, instead, it focuses on trending videos on Fortnite or your personal watch history," he says. "It's not a place where gamers can search for what games they are interested in and the channels that cover them."
Twitch Still King
YouTube released YouTube Gaming in 2015 as its answer to services such as Twitch, which at time was becoming increasingly popular among the gaming crowd. YouTube Gaming adopted a different a look and feel from regular YouTube, catering mainly to PC and console audiences. The site attempted to surface new, rising personalities and experimented with a handful of new features throughout its run.
Twitch has been at the top of the game streaming pile for quite some time now, though, and at this point it seems practically unbeatable. If even YouTube can't topple its reign, who can? The Amazon-owned platform had 64,000 users creating nearly 2 million hours' worth of content just at the start of the year, as per analytics firm Newzoo. By contrast, YouTube Gaming had only 22,000 users who produced 460,000 hours of content.