It seems that yesterday’s news about a potential security breach at Twitch couldn’t have come at a better time for YouTube. The video giant has announced that it will relaunch its dormant streaming service with a special focus on live streamed gaming content. Rumors first reported by the Daily Dot suggest that YouTube is staffing up with engineers and designers to revamp its internal streaming service YouTube Live. The goal is reportedly to optimize the look and feel of that platform for live gaming and E-Sports.
YouTube was heavily rumored to be in talks to acquire Twitch last year. The two companies have an overlapping audience and collaborated on at least one project that suggested a merger was in the works. It was widely believed that the two companies were close to a deal, but that agreement apparently fell apart, leaving Amazon to swoop in at the last minute, acquiring Twitch for an estimated $970 million. The purchase proved to be a good investment — gaming content continues to be the fastest growing genre in online video. Advertisers have shown particular interest in the growing field of competitive E-Sports, an area dominated by live streaming platforms with Twitch being by far the most prominent.
YouTube Live had a splashy debut in 2010 when YouTube began experimenting with broadcasting live sporting events. However, the service never really took off with users. Though still in existence, YouTube Live isn’t currently promoted or even mentioned on the YouTube homepage. Refocusing on gaming could give the platform new life and give YouTube gamers a more convenient tool to stream their content for fans and followers without going offsite.
The idea isn’t without problems. A gaming-focused YouTube Live will be showing up late to the party. It will have to square off against the clear industry leader, Twitch, as well as the dozens of imitators and competitors that have been spawned by its success. The problem is very similar to the one faced by YouTube’s long awaited music streaming service, Music Key, which faces competition from established leaders like Spotify, Pandora, and dozens of other streaming also-rans. However, just as Music Key benefits from YouTube’s vast and unique library of fan generated music, YouTube Live will have YouTube’s roster of the world’s most popular gaming content creators behind it. If YouTube can wrangle homegrown heroes, like PewDiePie and his 30 million subscribers, into dumping Twitch for YouTube Live then they’ll have a fighting chance.
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