YouTube is planning to relaunch its live-streaming service with a focus on competitive gaming and eSports, after failing to compete against Amazon’s Twitch.TV.
The live-streaming service was originally launched four years ago, with the promise of live sports, entertainment and Q&A. It started out decent, but quickly lost traction without a major focus on gaming, the most popular live-stream topic.
Twitch.TV’s own sister service Justin.TV was shut down after failing to keep viewers interested. Justin.TV tried the YouTube approach of live-streaming anything, instead of focusing on gaming.
YouTube has over 50 engineers working on the new platform. It is not clear if YouTube will integrate any special live technology, to make eSports organisers more interested.
Partnerships with streamers and eSports organisations are potential ways for YouTube to gain an audience, but as we have seen with other live-streaming services like Azubu, this doesn’t always work.
It is definitely an uphill battle for YouTube to compete against Twitch.TV, similar to a video service trying to compete with YouTube’s primary service. Being the de-facto provider makes it hard for upstarts to challenge, without changing the formula.
YouTube originally tried to acquire Twitch.TV for $1 billion (£670 million), but backed out due to anti-trust issues. Amazon swooped in a few months later, picking up the startup streaming service.
When Vessel - a video service showing YouTube videos three days earlier - launched a few months ago, YouTube set up partnerships with streamers to make sure they didn’t accept Vessel’s own offers.
Perhaps YouTube will offer exclusive deals with organisers and streamers. Having some League of Legends streamers switch to YouTube could be a popular move, especially if there is a higher ad-revenue rate and smart chat and subscription features.