Credit: Youtube

YouTube is getting into gaming in a big way

The video site is launching its new games app tomorrow in a big to compete with Amazon's Twitch.

by Jack Torrance
Last Updated: 17 Feb 2016

Watching other people play computer games might not sound like your ideal night in, but the practice is increasingly becoming big business. Last summer Google was beaten to the punch by Amazon, which paid a reported $970m (£620m) to acquire Twitch, a website whose 55 million users (as of then) do just that.

Now Google is back with a vengeance. According to TechCrunch it plans to launch Youtube Gaming, a Twitch competitor previously announced in June, tomorrow. It promises a dedicated page for 25,000 different games, 'videos, live streams, and the biggest community of gamers on the web—all in one place.' Sounds great, if that's your bag.

Twitch and Youtube Gaming demonstrate not just the increasing economic value of the videogames industry, but also its changing nature. The internet has made gaming more of a social activity and also added an element of fierce competition that wasn't really there before. That brings with it a wealth of opportunity for advertisers - hence Google's interest.

Competitive gaming has absolutely exploded in the last couple of years and not just to the benefit of games companies. The E-sports Earnings website's list of the most highly paid gamers looks more like a list of professional athletes' income – top earner Saahil Arora took home $1.3m from this year's Dota 2 International Tournament, which had a total prize pot of $18m. It may be a few steps behind the curve, but it looks like Google could be on to a winner.

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