YouTube Gaming is officially dead.
In a blog post today, YouTube announced that it’s dedicated YouTube Gaming app will soon cease to exist. The app will officially be retired In March 2019.
But, don’t be mistaken. The shutdown of the YouTube Gaming app has more to do with the inability of the dedicated outlet to take off than anything concerning the success of video game livestreaming on YouTube.
On the contrary, according to YouTube’s Global Head of Gaming, Ryan Wyatt, gaming is bigger than ever on YouTube. “50 billion hours of Gaming content watched on YouTube in the last 12 months and 200M daily logged-in users watch Gaming every single day on YouTube,” Wyatt said in a tweet.
Which is why it’s all not bad news. YouTube Gaming will live on as part of the main YouTube platform.
Back in 2014, Amazon spent nearly $1 billion on Twitch, the video game livestreaming platform. This move spurred YouTube to give gaming videos a harder look. This resulted in YouTube’s release of a separate YouTube Gaming app in 2015. Unfortunately, if anything, the dedicated app just made choosing between watching gaming content on there versus YouTube in general more confusing.
YouTube Gaming will now live on the main site at “youtube.com/gaming.” It will also be featured on the left hand sidebar along with other sections of the website such as Trending and YouTube Premium.
The Gaming page for YouTube, which is now live, features top livestreams, top videos, as well as the top games currently being livestreamed on the platform. The new YouTube Gaming section will also put a spotlight on new, rising creators every week in an effort to help the community grow. The first recommended gamer, called Gaming Creator on the Rise, has also already been unveiled with Erin Plays taking the first spot. Currently, YouTubers from the United States with over 1,000 subscribers are eligible.
The The YouTube Gaming app was often a testing ground for features, like Super Chat where users can pay to highlight their comment in the live chat feed, that later crossed over to the main YouTube platform. As YouTube points out on Twitter, there are a few YouTube Gaming features and settings, like Channel Memberships that are live on certain channels on the app but not on the main site, that still need to be ported over — hence the app lives until March of next year.
YouTube is clearly still struggling a bit to find its direction with one of the most popular categories on its site. YouTube may be the premiere online video destination for nearly every other niche, but they have extremely popular competitor out there in Twitch that specifically caters to gamers. YouTube needs to give gamers a reason to keep coming to them. While the reaction online to the changes seem to be mixed, it looks as if YouTube is taking the right steps to stay in the game.