By Adi Robertson
YouTube is already a big player in live video. YouTube is already a big player in gaming. As of today, Google is promoting the intersection of the two with YouTube Gaming, a dedicated site and separate app that’s supposed to directly compete with Twitch’s popular streaming platform. YouTube Gaming is a more obviously gaming-focused version of the standard interface; the announcement post billed it as a place where “you can search with confidence, knowing that typing ‘call’ will show you Call of Duty and not ‘Call Me Maybe.'”
In practice, the problem YouTube Gaming needs to solve isn’t separating video games from Carly Rae Jepsen (who has a small but respectable place in its search results, thanks to a Just Dance 4 track and some Minecraft parody songs.) It’s separating the different kinds of gaming content that’s easily available on YouTube. And in that, it succeeds — which might be all it needs to do.
While you’re watching a stream, YouTube Gaming looks more like a Netflix-style video service (or YouTube’s mobile app) than its vanilla counterpart does, though the components are similar: you can see comments on the side, give a streamer a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, and subscribe to their work.