Announced via Twitter today, YouTube Gaming represents a big push by Google into the live game streaming space, which is currently dominated by Twitch. The service has been rumored to be in the works for a while, but it's now official with a dedicated web portal and mobile apps.
Google says that YouTube Gaming will be available on the web, but unfortunately, there's no app currently in the works for Windows Phone. Users will be able to keep up with their favorite games and gamers in three main sections: games, feeds, and channels. Google says that it has improved live streams with reduced chat latency and better moderation, making for a more seamless experience in keeping up with your favorite YouTubers as they stream. Additionally, users will be able to tell YouTube Gaming what games they're into, and the service will make recommendations for content based on a running list of your preferences. And that list of games? Google says they'll have over 25,000 titles with their own dedicated pages to start out with.
For content creators, they'll have much better tools to customize their channels for gaming content, with better organization and naming. Additionally, YouTubers will be able to take advantage of 60fps streams, DVR, and automatic conversion of YouTube Gaming streams to regular old YouTube videos.
From what we've seen so far, YouTube Gaming looks like quite the opening salvo for Google in an area traditionally dominated by one player: Twitch. It will be interesting to see how the community reacts, particularly if it creates a divide between the dedicated Twitch crowd and YouTube's gaming stars.
For the Microsoft crowd specifically, it will be worth watching how Google handles this. While there was no mention of Windows Phone support with today's announcement, YouTube may do well if it eventually pushes into the space. There's currently no official Twitch app for Windows Phone, meaning YouTube could beat them to the punch and potentially pick up some new users along the way. With the move to universal apps in Windows 10, it would also make a lot of sense to develop something for the platform as a whole. However, it's much more likely that YouTube Gaming will make an appearance on the Xbox One first, where Twitch already has a foothold.
Google says that YouTube Gaming will launch later this summer in the U.S. and U.K., but no specific date was given. For now you can head over to the YouTube Gaming website to sign up for a notification when the service goes live (protip: click around on the logo for a surprise or two).