The standalone YouTube Gaming app is closing in March 2019 as Google is planning to roll much of the functionality into YouTube proper. In a blog post announcing the change, YouTube said the service didn’t garner enough of an audience to be worthwhile as a standalone product.
The app was launched in 2015 and brought game pages, channel memberships, better live streaming, a dark theme, and more to its community. All of these upgrades and additions have been added to the larger YouTube experience since the Gaming app was launched.
In place of the app will be a hub page on YouTube with trending videos, streams, and “personalized gaming content based on what you like to watch.” The Gaming hub will also show the latest videos from games-related subscriptions, and game-specific pages can be found through the new portal.
YouTube has sat in the shadows of live-streaming giant Twitch, which was purchased by Amazon in 2014. Google bought the year-old YouTube in 2006, and introduced livestreaming to the service in 2012 for the U.S. Presidential Debate. The company has continuously attempted innovations to pull livestream views away from Twitch, but have not matched that site’s popularity. However, YouTube is the largest video-on-demand (VOD) website and the site’s gaming community is massive.
According to YouTube’s statistics shared in today’s blog post, over 200 million people watch gaming-related content daily. The YouTube Gaming app never felt necessary, and for many it was just another portal to access content they could easily get through YouTube. Over at The Verge, YouTube’s director of gaming content Ryan Wyatt said that there “was confusion with the YouTube gaming app.” People weren’t sure what that app offered over the main YouTube experience. As a result, the app never garnered an audience and YouTube decided to pull the plug.
YouTube also announced their “gaming creator on the rise” initiative to help discovery of new channels every Sunday. Details on the initiative are scant, although YouTube has other similar “creator on the rise” programs. Artist on the rise showcases new musical artists, the general “creator” on the rise is for non-music and (presumably) non-gaming channels, and the new gaming creator initiative.