YouTube is seeking to win over gamers.
The online video giant announced plans ahead of next week's Electronic Entertainment Expo to launch a separate app and site specifically for fans of video games.
Ryan Wyatt, YouTube's global head of gaming content, unveiled YouTube Gaming during an event Friday at YouTube Space LA, one of the site's production facilities. He said YouTube Gaming will be a destination for users to find gaming videos, live streams and Internet personalities. sl
"Despite the crazy usage that gaming drives on YouTube, we've never really built gamers the experience that they deserve," said Wyatt. "That's something that changes today."
The app and site, which is scheduled to debut in the U.S. and U.K. later this summer, will feature individual pages dedicated to more than 25,000 games.
YouTube product designer Jonathan Terleski demonstrated that if a user began searching for the word "call" on the YouTube Gaming app, the military shooter "Call of Duty," not the Carly Rae Jepsen tune "Call Me Maybe" would appear first.
YouTube is also seeking to make it easier for users to broadcast live and competitive gaming, known as e-sports, by creating singular links that can be shared, removing the need to schedule a broadcast and promoting live broadcasts.
"YouTube Gaming is built from the ground up for gamers, by gamers," said Wyatt. "No longer is gaming going to be lost in a sea of content. We're unleashing a brand-new user experience that puts games front and center. That includes live gaming, as well."
The move by Google-owned YouTube takes direct aim at Twitch, the gaming-centric streaming video site acquired by Amazon last year for nearly $1 billion. While YouTube remains the dominant online video site, Twitch has solidified itself over the past three years as a destination to stream gameplay from such titles as "League of Legends" and "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive." Twitch now boasts 100 million users who watch 1.5 million broadcasters a month.
"We welcome new entrants into the growing list of competitors," said Matthew DiPietro, Twitch's vice president of marketing, in a statement. "Gaming video is obviously a huge market that others have their eye on. It inspires us to work even harder to make the community proud."
YouTube Gaming will be previewed at YouTube's booth on the E3 show floor beginning Tuesday.
The announcement of YouTube's renewed focus on gaming once again signals the importance of online video on the eve of E3, the gaming industry's annual trade show. While the interactive extravaganza is no longer broadcast live on TV cable channels such as Spike and G4, the surprise-laced press conferences and flashy game demonstrations attract millions of viewers on YouTube, Twitch and other online streaming services.
"The way you reach a gamer today is very different than the way you would 20 or even 10 years ago," said Michael Gallagher, president of the Electronic Software Association, which organizes E3.
"It's more direct. The consumers want the experience of video game debuts through the eyes and voices of true gamers," Gallagher continued. "Now, those true gamers who can speak with enthusiasm about a new 'Fallout' or 'Call of Duty' are able to do it live and in person through streaming technology. It's another example how the industry has matured and grown beyond traditional forms of media."