Since its debut, the YouTube Gaming hub has been seen as YouTube’s challenge to Twitch’s domination of the video game live streaming market. Now, it is getting several new features, including a “Sponsorships” service that appears to be a clear answer to Twitch’s subscriptions.
YouTube Gaming Sponsorships are built on the video site’s existing Fan Funding platform, which was announced at VidCon in June 2014 and debuted in four countries three months later. For a monthly fee, sponsors gain access to exclusive perks like VIP chat windows and special badges. Sponsorships are currently available for only a few channels, but YouTube plans to roll out the feature site-wide in the future.
A similar subscription service has worked wonders for Twitch. Some streamers make thousands of dollars each month in subscription revenue, eclipsing their advertising revenue several times over in the process. As a result, it’s not uncommon to see streamers thank their subscribers with on-screen shout-outs and fan giveaways.
YouTube’s decision to launch gaming features that mirror Twitch isn’t a one-way street. Recently, at the first ever TwitchCon, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear announced the launch of playlists and direct video uploads, two features that have for years been central to the YouTube experience.
In addition to Sponsorships, the YouTube Gaming update brings several other new features. Chief among them is the launch of Mobile Capture (pictured above), which lets users stream directly from Android devices by pressing “Go Live” within the YouTube Gaming app. It’s a neat piece of technology and a boon for streamers who play popular titles like Clash of Clans.
Additional changes, including updates to search, subscriptions, and performance within the YouTube Gaming app, are documented within a blog post.