With version 1.3 of its YouTube Gaming app, Google is launching a feature that will bring mobile game streaming to any Android device. Launching today, the redesigned app will feature a mode that will allow users to stream any mobile game they have installed, using just the device's front camera and microphone, no specialised equipment required.
Google launched its competitor to Amazon's livestreaming platform Twitch in August of last year, with a global YouTube Gaming website, and apps for Android and iOS, launched in the US and the UK. Today, those apps have also launched in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Canada, with a redesigned back end, new home page and some new features for Android.
The new livestreaming function can be accessed by a drop-down menu under your portrait in the top right corner of the app. This can be either set to stream content as you make it, or record a video locally on your device to review and set live later. Using your phone's camera, it will show your face in a small window on the screen as you use any of your apps.
The other feature is the option to pop-out the video you are currently watching so that it floats on top of your screen while you do other things. If you get a text message, for example, you can continue to watch a livestream uninterrupted while you reply. Neither feature has yet been implemented to Apple's iOS.
According to NewZoo analytics, gamers who watch videos on YouTube outnumber gamers who watch YouTube on Twitch by more than 2:1, although NewZoo also notes that YouTube is primarily a video-on-demand platform, where Twitch is primarily live.
YouTube Gaming, which Google says has over 144 billion minutes of gaming content uploaded every month, is seeking to muscle in on that live content audience. The app has a strong focus on live content, with a carousel on the homepage of the app showing live videos from your subscribed channels.
You can also choose to subscribe, not just to specific creator channels, but to games. According to Google, they have channels for over 25,000 games, each of which collates content from a range of different creators.
Based on your subscribed channels, the app will show you recommended content with the aim of making discovery much simpler. As you scroll down the home screen, you'll see sections for your recommended content, your subscribed creator channels, a list of recent content curated by Google staff and trending videos.