YouTube Gaming, Google's answer to Amazon-owned Twitch, will finally go live Wednesday, launching on the Web and as an app for mobile devices at 1 p.m. EDT, the tech giant said Tuesday. The new service will give hardcore gamers more options when it comes to choosing how they broadcast their gameplay across the Internet.
For Google, the draw to the online gaming video space is crystal clear: the market is worth $3.8 billion and is currently dominated by Twitch, which takes home 43 percent of the revenue market share. Google hoped to enter the space last year by acquiring Twitch, but ultimately, it lost in a bidding war against Amazon, which doled out $970 million for the service.
Gamers have been waiting months for the new service to debut after Google announced it in early June. The English-language version of the YouTube Gaming website will be available in any country where YouTube already exists, and the app will first roll out in the U.S and U.K. -- other countries will receive the app "soon," Google said.
As YouTube stands now, gamers can use it to video stream their gameplay, but YouTube's features have been lacking. Until recently, gamers had to schedule live streams ahead of time if they wanted to broadcast using YouTube. That and several other features will be changed or improved with the release of YouTube Gaming.
"YouTube Gaming is built to be all about your favorite games and gamers, with more videos than anywhere else," YouTube said when the service was first announced.
With YouTube Gaming, users will be able to see pages dedicated to specific games that they follow, receive personalized gaming recommendations, stream video at 60 frames per second and easily pause or rewind live broadcasts. At launch, YouTube Gaming will support more than 25,000 video game titles.
Already, Google efforts in the online gaming video market appear to be paying off. Users are now spending 75 percent more time watching gaming videos compared to last year, and more than half of the service's top 100 channels by watch time are dedicated to gaming, the company claims.