Twitch is certainly not backing down from Google as the search company gets ready to launch a YouTube spin-off dedicated for gamers, an app that, from Google's announcement, sounds and works very much like Twitch.
Just a little more than an hour after Google announced YouTube Gaming on Twitter, Twitch responded with a quick, sassy comeback that would have kicked Google right in the face had the two new rivals been speaking to each other face to face.
— Twitch (@Twitch) June 12, 2015
Google was rumored to be going after Twitch in an acquisition last year, but a nearly $1 billion buyout by Amazon poured water on those rumors. Now, it appears that Google is intent on creating its own Twitch-like platform where gamers can watch livestreams and videos of other people playing.
Allan Joyce, product manager of YouTube Gaming, says the platform will have its own dedicated website and mobile app, similar to the new YouTube for Kids and YouTube Music Keys apps that Google recently launched.
More than 25,000 games, "from 'Asteroid' to 'Zelda,'" will have their own channels, and so will game publishers and broadcasters. As with Twitch, gamers can add channels to their "collections" and receive notifications for when a livestream is about to start.
On the broadcaster side, gamers can stream at up to 60 frames per second, with DVR capabilities and a feature to automatically convert livestreams into videos for later viewing. Google also says that gamers can start livestreams even without a schedule.
In short, YouTube Gaming sounds eerily like Twitch, and it stands to prove whether it can outrank Twitch as the No. 1 game livestreaming platform. As a Google product, YouTube Gaming has its own advantage, and a number of popular gaming figures, including PewDiePie, Diamond Minecart, Popular MMOs, Markiplier and Jack Septic Eye, host their videos on YouTube. Their channels are included in the top 100 most viewed gaming channels on YouTube, and together, they gathered six billion views in May alone.
Twitch, as we can see, is not going down without putting up a tough fight, and it's easy to see why the four-year-old, Amazon-owned company can afford to be so confident in the face of a major competitor.
Last month alone, Twitch amassed more than 897 million views, according to Quantcast figures, and these are from more than 53 million global monthly viewers, although Twitch says it broke the 100 million barrier last year. While YouTube is a strong contender in video, for the most part, Twitch virtually owns live video-streaming, says Business Insider, with 43 percent of all livestreaming on the Internet accounted for by Twitch as of 2014.
Twitch also enjoys a global base of loyal followers who spend a good amount of their lives, roughly three hours every day, watching streams and videos on Twitch. And while YouTube Gaming launches this summer only in the U.S. and U.K., Twitch is not slowing down from extending its reach to other countries. The company says it saw triple-digit growth in some Asian, Middle East and European countries and has established new sites in Paris and London. Twitch has also expanded its support for more languages and has upgraded several servers in the U.S. and Amsterdam.