Game streaming wars heat up

YouTube Gaming adds mobile capture, ‘Fan Funding’ option

Game streaming platform YouTube Gaming is getting a boost with new features that may strike fresh fear into the heart of its major competitor, Twitch.

YouTube announced today that creators on it’s gaming platform will now be able to stream mobile play and accept “Fan Funding” and sponsorships, meaning that users can back their favorite creators financially and unlock access to premium perks like exclusive live chats. Along with new financial and mobile streaming capabilities in the YouTube Gaming platform, the new update improves search capabilities, adds simpler Watch Later bookmarking, and allows users to import existing YouTube subscriptions into the YouTube gaming app.

Mobile streaming is already live and ready to go in the YouTube mobile app–creators will simply hit the “Go Live” toggle that’ll begin the stream, and their phones will tap into the camera and microphone for the picture-in-picture display of their faces as they provide commentary.

Fan Funding and sponsorships, however, are only open to select group of beta creators for now. Theoretically, Fan Funding will look similar to the feature YouTube announced for its creators last year under the same name. Creators who have the Fan Funding feature enabled were able to accept payments via a “Support” button on their channel pages. Sponsorships behave a little bit differently, with recurring monthly payments that give backers access to the aforementioned premium features.

Earlier this year, Twitch teamed up with ChangeTip to allow users to exchange money within the platform, so Fan Funding on YouTube Gaming is something like catching up. But it’s important to understand where the Twitch/YouTube Gaming is likely to be won, and that’s creators. Viewers will probably follow their favorite creators from one platform to another despite interface differences, but creators will likely end up making platform decisions based flexibility, performance, ease-of-use and payment methods.

While the new financial components of YouTube Gaming are brand new and it’s a little early to tell how, exactly, they stack up against Twitch’s in-line ChangeTip commands, YouTube’s effort to keep improving the gaming platform is a pretty clear indication that they intend to keep up the attempt to wrestle viewership away from Twitch. And if YouTube’s release accompanying the update announcement is anything to go by, it’s working pretty well so far. According to the release, YouTube is the most-watched platform for games, with users streaming over 144 billion minutes of gaming content every month. Of course, this includes gaming videos and live streams combined, but the message is clear: YouTube Gaming is serious about winning the game streaming wars.