YouTube Gaming is more or less shutting down this week. Google launched the standalone YouTube gaming vertical almost four years ago as a response to Amazon’s purchase of Twitch, and on May 30, Google will shut down the standalone YouTube Gaming app and the standalone gaming.youtube.com website.
The plan to shut down the gaming portal was announced in September, with a report from The Verge saying the site was dying because it simply wasn’t popular. YouTube serves more than 50 billion hours of gaming content a year, but people just aren’t viewing those hours through the gaming-specific site and apps.
Live game streaming is one of the few incursions into Google’s dominance of video on the Web. Google tried to buy game streaming leader Twitch.tv back in 2014, but the company was snatched up by Amazon. YouTube Gaming launched one year later as, more or less, a clone of Twitch. YouTube Gaming offered a very different interface from YouTube, in the same way Twitch is different from YouTube. Individual games got their own pages on YouTube Gaming that showed all the YouTube content related to that game, and viewers could follow a game to receive all the latest content and discover new creators. Livestreams were heavily promoted as part of the gaming push, along with a low-latency streaming mode for better chat interaction. The site also set about copying some of Twitch’s monetization features, with things like paid “Super chats” and paid channel subscriptions.
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