Today marks the launch of YouTube Gaming, a dedicated site where all of YouTube’s content relating to gaming, game streams, Let’s Plays, and showcases by developers and publishers is duplicated into a portal that makes searching for and finding gaming-related content much easier. Youtube says that views on gaming related content are up by 75% compared to statistics gathered last year in 2014, and this is simultaneously an attempt to create a Twitch competitor. The front page even has a similar feel, with a handful of short webm video clips of featured stream being placed at the top of the landing page that auto plays once the page is loaded.
There were a number of things that needed to be done before the service launched, however. 60fps playback was crucial to avoid games being represented unrealistically, and the live streaming back-end has had a complete rewrite for some playback features. You can pause and rewind streams without the buffer stopping and switching the stream’s quality up or down no longer creates a really long delay as the stream changes to a higher bit rate (its still there, but less annoying now). Some of the site’s issues that linger from the beta are mostly formatting errors, as the video descriptions aren’t formatted properly to display paragraphs or links.
The mobile apps for YouTube Gaming are also available today in the US, Canada, and the UK, but other countries are on a waiting list as YouTube curates localised playlists and content that people in those regions are already interested in. With all 25,000 pages, channels and streamers all bundled in already, I think there’s more than enough to keep you busy if you just access the service through the desktop or your mobile browsers. The site is touch-friendly, too, which is nice.