With Wednesday’s launch of YouTube Gaming, the video streaming website’s newest gaming-centric app, Google has sent a message to Amazon-owned Twitch. That message is one with a focus on a denser, yet cleaner GUI. It’s one that doesn’t run on the bandwidth-gobbling monster known as Adobe Flash. It’s a message that reads in brand-new, shiny letters: “Your move, pal.”
Twitch, the video streaming service to beat in the video game sphere, has had a relatively unchallenged monopoly since its release in 2011. When Twitch went up for sale last year, it was rumored that Google, also the owner of YouTube, would be the buyer. In an unexpected turn of events, Amazon grabbed Twitch at the last minute for an estimated $970 million. Now, after laying the appropriate groundwork for streaming capabilities and zeroing in on its already expansive gaming video library, Google has unleashed YouTube Gaming unto the world wide web.
Though reviews have been mixed over the past few days, YouTube Gaming’s ultimate strength lies within its design ethos: “Improve on the Twitch experience.” This grounding idea can already seen through one of the key features that made Twitch an anomaly in the first place: livestreaming. Where Twitch only allowed users to view live video streams, YouTube Gaming has introduced a DVR mode that buffers four previous hours of a previous footage.
The actual streaming of content on YouTube Gaming is also an improvement on the Twitch experience, with usage of HTML5 playback, an easier, lighter framework than Twitch’s reliance on Flash. This new feature will not only save users from the CPU-eating terrors of Flash, but it will also enable variability within playback speed. This allows viewers to move backward in a live stream with ease, should they miss any moment of the action.
As the service currently stands, YouTube Gaming is available in the US and the UK, with plans to expand to other countries in the near future. Will YouTube Gaming find its way to overtake Twitch’s throne in the game streaming market? Let us know in the comments!
Rebeccah Bassell is a lover of all things games and an editor for Analog Addiction! You can like them on Facebook, follow her personal blog, The Rhetorical Gamer to learn more about the rhetorical power of games, or pretend to be her friend on Twitter. She might even pretend to be your friend back❤