It seems that the love affair between YouTube and video game-streaming platform Twitch is going to continue. Despite insisting that the persistent rumors of a $1 billion acquisition deal in the works are nothing but speculation, Twitch announced an expansion of its integrated YouTube services on Friday. Via a video posted to the official Twitch.tv YouTube channel, Twitch announced a new feature that will create automatically generated annotations alerting video viewers whenever a creator is broadcasting on Twitch.
The feature is described as a great way to build and expand your audience by cross-promoting your Twitch broadcasts to your YouTube viewers. It’s also a convenient way to steer traffic off of YouTube and onto a potential competitor. Twitch and YouTube have collaborated before, and while the two platforms offer mostly complementary, rather than competing services, it’s still hard to imagine a scenario in which YouTube would benefit from steering users off of their site and onto another. Unless, of course, they were as close to acquiring that site as rumors suggest.
Many Twitch users have worried that a partnership between the two video platforms would bring YouTube-style copyright enforcement to Twitch, which has traditionally had a more liberal approach to streaming potentially copyrighted video game content. Many YouTube gamers saw their videos taken down and stripped of their monetization potential late last year with the unveiling of YouTube’s new and more stringent content ID rules. If similar rules were applied to a YouTube-owned Twitch, it would be a serious challenge for broadcasters, who are accustomed to a more relaxed brand of copyright enforcement. Those challenges are likely to be offset by the global infrastructure, clout and massive piles of cash that come with being a Google company.
Both companies remain officially silent on the possibility of acquisition, presumably until all the details are ironed out. However, implementation of a feature like broadcast alerts certainly suggests that the official marriage of Twitch to YouTube isn’t far off. Hopefully those two crazy kids can work things out and finally get hitched. Until then, the gaming internet will be watching integrations like this one closely for signs of what the future holds.
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