Youtube is set to take on Twitch with a new livestreaming platform focused on esports and gaming, reports have suggested.
Online news site The Daily Dot claims to have been told by sources within the company that the Google-owned giant – who saw a $1bn takeover bid rejected late last year amid antitrust concerns – is set to announce its rival service at this year’s E3, which takes place in June.
“Gaming and esports in particular are going to be a big driving force for the new-look YouTube Live,” their source is reported to have told the site. “There’ll be huge opportunities for established streamers and organizations soon and I would say that the record numbers of esports viewers are only going to grow when Google start promoting and partnering with these events.”
This wouldn’t be the first time that Youtube has ventured into livestreaming. In 2010, the platform broadcast live cricket matches from the Indian Premier League. But the service never really took off. The renewed focus on competitive gaming – which is something of a growth industry right now, with over 205m people watching online gaming matches in 2014 – is seen as a way for Youtube to bring back their livestreaming service in a way that will give the company additional appeal among gamers, and act as a rival to Twitch – who is now owned by online retail giant Amazon.
It will be an uphill battle for Youtube, however. Despite only being four years old, by August last year the service had managed to dominate the livestreaming market, with over 43% of streaming content originating on Twitch. It also accounts for one of the main sources of peak internet traffic, just behind Netflix, Apple and Google, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Youtube Live is reportedly being worked on by over 50 engineers, and if the rumors are true then Youtube’s presence at E3 suggests it is looking to forge closer bonds with the games industry.