In May 30th Google will shut down the YouTube Gaming app. After five years, it seems like Twitch has won the battle. But I think Twitch didn’t quite win the war (yet?).
YouTube Gaming has tried to use YouTube’s and Google’s mighty power to dominate gaming streaming services. But why YouTube gaming failed? In my opinion, there were two main problems. The first one is that Google needed to set apart their gaming streaming service from YouTube, they should have launched a dedicated service only for streaming that will coexist with YouTube and not try to launch a hybrid service that will be inferior to the main YouTube application.
In my opinion, the main reason users didn’t use the YouTube Gaming app was that they haven’t got anything worthwhile out of it. And as a result, they just preferred the main app.
The second reason YouTube Gaming has failed was the lack of a productive monetization system for streamers. This reason made content creators prefer to stream on other platforms like Twitch.
Another interesting point is the difference between how the content is presented to the user in each platform. In Twitch, the user needs to select the game that he wants to watch streams for and then he will be presented with a list of streamers based on the number of views they have (the fewer viewers you have the harder it is to run into your stream). In YouTube it’s a completely different story, the user will be shown videos\streams based on an algorithm that will show the user content specific for him. I think that this core difference in the platforms is making the distinction noticeable.
I don’t see the closing of the YouTube Gaming app as a complete failure. According to Google, they’ve used YouTube Gaming as a test field for new features like dark mode and channel memberships that as a result found their way into the main YouTube app.
As a passionate gamer, I consume gaming content on both YouTube and Twitch. on YouTube, I’m watching mostly edited content like commentaries and news videos.
While on Twitch, I like to hop on and just watch raw live gameplay streams. From a gamer point of view, the synergy of having two great content platforms is perfectly fine.
From Google’s point of view, they must win the war against Twitch to become the absolute content house of gamers.