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YouTube Takes a Shot at Amazon’s Twitch With ‘YouTube Gaming’

2 minute read

Remember the scuttlebutt back in March about YouTube ramping up its gaming presence? Turns out it wasn’t wishful thinking: the Google-owned video sharing titan on Friday unveiled “YouTube Gaming,” a new games-centric service not to be confused with “YouTube #Gaming,” the company’s longtime games aggregation channel.

YouTube Gaming, which YouTube says will launch in the next few months, is both a new standalone app as well as a revised web portal for YouTube’s gaming-verse. It packs the site’s gaming videos, livestreams and other community features into a single streamlined space, with new profile customization features that will let you add games to “favorites,” thereafter highlighting them during searches and tagging them as “My Games.”

YouTube is also going to give “more than 25,000” games their own discrete pages, it says. The company hypes that figure — simultaneously taking a polite swipe at Amazon-owned rival Twitch — by claiming YouTube has “more [gaming] videos than anywhere else.”

That’s a lot of curation, but it could help clean up the service, too. Each game page will now have tabs that show the official YouTube pages for the game’s publisher. Discovery is now focused narrowly on gaming content, thus, to use YouTube’s example, typing “call” is going to conjure a phrase like “Call of Duty” instead of “Call Me Maybe.” If you’d rather bypass all the “free rider” fan or media watermarked versions of trailers or developer diaries for the unblemished originals, this should make finding them easier.

YouTube’s angle on livestreaming’s getting a modest makeover, too. You can already livestream games on YouTube, but conventional wisdom holds that serious gamers prefer Twitch, which offers more gaming-specific features. YouTube Gaming attempts to address some of this by no longer requiring that you schedule a live event beforehand, for instance, and giving you the option to roll all of your streams into a single link.

How well that works, and whether it’s enough to sway Twitch acolytes, remains to be seen. YouTube says it’ll show off the channel at E3 next week. The new site and app should launch this summer, starting in the U.S. and U.K.

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Write to Matt Peckham at matt.peckham@time.com