YouTube plays to video game lov­ing view­ers

The China Post - - LIFE - BY GLENN CHAP­MAN

YouTube is wad­ing con­fi­dently into turf dom­i­nated by Ama­zon-owned Twitch, with a ser­vice tai­lored for the hot trend of videogame play as a spec­ta­tor sport.

The glob­ally pop­u­lar online video-shar­ing ser­vice pro­vided in­dus­try in­sid­ers an early look at YouTube Gam­ing at an Elec­tronic En­ter­tain­ment Expo ex­trav­a­ganza that ends Thurs­day in Los An­ge­les.

“Hav­ing a des­ti­na­tion where you can get all the gam­ing con­tent you care about is re­ally im­por­tant,” YouTube head of gam­ing part­ner­ships Ryan Wy­att told AFP as he demon­strated the soon-to-be-launched venue for live or on-de­mand video fo­cused on gam­ing. “That is why we cre­ated this.” Bil­lions of hours of video re­lated to gam­ing are watched monthly at YouTube, from “walk-through” clips show­ing play­ers how to han­dle chal­lenges, to comedic com­men­tary and in-game ac­tion, ac­cord­ing to Wy­att.

The online arena for video game chan­nels in­cor­po­rates the search smarts of Google, which owns YouTube, to sur­face fresh or must-see con­tent.

Bil­lions of Game-watch­ing Hours

The po­ten­tial au­di­ence for YouTube Gam­ing is huge given that hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple seek out videogamere­lated con­tent at the ser­vice.

“We are do­ing bil­lions of hours of watch time in gam­ing,” Wy­att said. “There should be a lot of trac­tion go­ing into this.”

YouTube Gam­ing will de­but in the United King­dom and the United States in the com­ing months, fea­tur­ing on-de­mand video as well as live broad­cast­ing of games be­ing played.

Along with the YouTube Gam­ing web­site ac­ces­si­ble through web browsers, there will be an ap­pli­ca­tion for mo­bile de­vices.

Lead­ing video game play broad­cast­ing plat­form Twitch was at E3 in force, stream­ing press con­fer­ences, demos, in­ter­views and more.

U.S. online re­tail gi­ant Ama­zon last year bol­stered its In­ter­net video pres­ence, whistling past Google to snatch up Twitch and its huge au­di­ence for live-streamed gam­ing.

The ac­qui­si­tion was one of the largest in Ama­zon’s history: US$970 mil­lion in cash for the three-year-old In­ter­net com­pany.

Twitch In­ter­ac­tive streams games be­ing played for non-play­ing view­ers to watch, and hosts gam­ing events.

It al­lows view­ers to chat with the play­ers and oth­ers, lend­ing it some of the qual­i­ties of so­cial net­work­ing web­sites, and it sells advertising to gen­er­ate in­come.

Google had re­port­edly been work­ing out a bil­lion-dol­lar deal last year to buy Twitch, but backed off due to anti-trust con­cerns and cleared the way for Ama­zon to swoop in.

E-sports Boom

The take-over came with a boom in online view­ing of real-time video game or com­puter game play as “e-sports” at­tract grow­ing crowds as spec­ta­tor events.

Con­sole mak­ers Sony and Mi­crosoft have built Twitch game stream­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties into PlayS­ta­tion 4 and Xbox One, re­spec­tively.

“We put a big bet on stream­ing of game play be­ing a strong part of the con­sole uni­verse,” Sony Com­puter En­ter­tain­ment chief An­drew House told AFP.

“I think we made the right bet, putting a share but­ton on the con­troller was a big state­ment.”

Twitch bills it­self as the world’s largest video game broad­cast­ing net­work.

Mil­lions of peo­ple monthly watch video game play streamed us­ing Twitch, which boasts part­ners such as the Elec­tronic Sports League, Ma­jor League Gam­ing and IGN Pro League.

San Fran­cisco-based Twitch was cre­ated by the founders of live video stream­ing plat­form Justin.tv — Justin Kan and Em­mett Shear.

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