We have known for a while that Google was making a play for the game streaming crowd, after it was revealed that it attempted to buy Twitch, the popular game streaming service, last year. Since that deal fell through, it seems like Google has just decided to do things in-house instead and is integrating their brand new gaming-focused service onto YouTube, with the introduction of their latest network: YouTube Gaming. We’re going to be taking a look at this new service and at the app that goes with it, and see what all the fuss is about!
Streaming is huge these days. With big-name game streamers bringing in big crowds and amassing millions of views, it’s clear that streaming is a good fit for gamers. Services like Twitch and Hitbox have managed to dominate the market for the most part, but now things are about to change, with Google stepping up to the plate. YouTube Gaming seems to be a serious venture by Google, with a dedicated website and app separate from the regular YouTube interface, and a big focus on games instead of just being a generic streaming service.
You can download the app yourself by going over to this Play Store link. Or, if the app is not yet available in your region, you can download and install it manually on your device through this link instead. The interface for both the website and the app are surprisingly solid, especially for a first attempt. There is integrated live chat, rewind, suggested content, and it all works rather nicely. It’s clearly just a rehash of YouTube’s standard features with a focus on gaming, but still, it’s on par or even better than the competition, because YouTube has so much experience with streaming content and things are so refined after years of technology advances and polish. It’s nice to see that even in the front page, YouTube Gaming shows you live content and games that you actually care about:
The app itself also mimics the interface of the website almost one-for-one. The chat works fine, you can explore content, the suggested streams are still there, and all the details about the streamer and the games are available with a single tap. It’s easy to use and has pretty much the same features of the full website. That is one area where Google has everyone else sort of beat, because I find that the Twitch app is pretty terrible for watching things and finding new content, while in this new service, it’s a breeze:
In terms of performance and stream quality, things are pretty much as you’d expect it. YouTube Gaming streams are rock-solid for the most part, rarely having to buffer and pause the stream. You can very easily follow a playthrough live with the best video quality available, and it’s unlikely that you’ll run into an issue. Since the service also supports things like Chromecast, it has more features about how you see your content than the competition, but it’s up to you to decide if those are things you care about. The gaming community has certainly carved itself a nice little niche on Twitch, and maybe the transition isn’t going to be as smooth as Google hopes, despite the quality of YouTube Gaming.