YouTube has been experimenting with live streaming for many years, finally letting any channel in good standing participate in live streaming in December of 2013, and the YouTube Live channel currently features livestreams of sporting events, music, news, and more. But if you take a look through the offerings you might come back uninspired. YouTube Live hasn't really taken off as much as Google and YouTube would've liked it to.
Apparently, the company thinks it needs a new focus.
The Daily Dot is quoting sources in saying that YouTube plans to relaunch YouTube Live as a premier destination for game streaming – a move that would put it in direct competition with Amazon's Twitch. When we say "game streaming," we're talking about the increasingly popular activity of watching other gamers play games live. This can be an amateur or a professional endeavor.
Here's what that source had to say:
“Gaming and esports in particular are going to be a big driving force for the new-look YouTube Live. There’ll be huge opportunities for established streamers and organizations soon and I would say that the record numbers of esports viewers are only going to grow when Google start promoting and partnering with these events.”
YouTube already has the framework in place to support this – it just needs the talent and promotion.
Amazon completed its acquisition of Twitch in September of 2014. The price of that deal was $970 million. Before that, Google was in serious talks to acquire the game streaming platform itself, reportedly preparing a $1 billion offer. Reports indicated that Google backed out due to antitrust concerns.
YouTube wouldn't provide a comment on the report, but did send Ars Technica a cute gif of a girl shrugging, so there's that.