YouTube is putting its standalone gaming app out to pasture. YouTube Gaming, which the platform launched as a specialized destination for gaming creators and viewers in 2015, is officially being retired in March 2019. And while the app will be no more, it will be replaced by a new landing page for desktop users: youtube.com/gaming.
On the new hub — already live and still called ‘Gaming’ — YouTube brings together live streams and video content from popular creators and up-and-coming gamers alike. It will also spotlight newer creators each week with its ‘On The Rise’ feature. YouTube is trying to use the new landing page and associated features to boost creators’ visibility in a way the Gaming app did not, as Ryan Wyatt, YouTube’s head of gaming, told Polygon.
“The problem is, if you didn’t have the app, or you weren’t using the gaming hub to kind of like discover this content, creators weren’t as discoverable,” Wyatt said. “So many of these users are just using YouTube and the regular YouTube experience. You’d have some people that funneled through into the gaming app, or the gaming destination, but we were finding we still weren’t touching many people daily.”
The new landing page provides a mix of personalized recommendations and top content, with ‘On The Rise’ intended to push less-viewed content and creators to the fore as well. Users who visit will be able to see which games are currently getting the most hype (at the moment, it’s unsurprisingly Fortnite), which livestreams are trending, and what gaming-specific videos are trending. The lower half of the platform is full of videos curated based on the user’s YouTube viewing history.
As part of its gaming revamp, YouTube has also introduced specific Game Pages, which pull together content from across the platform. Users can subscribe to individual pages and get notifications for all new content, from all sorts of creators, for just one game. Within individual game pages, YouTube sorts content based on which videos are most popular regionally. Pages will also offer content straight from each title’s developer. According to YouTube’s announcement from director of product management Christina Chen, there are tens of thousands of individual game pages now live for exploration.
Chen says YouTube has more than 200 million active gamer users on its platform every day, and that, collectively, the YouTube community has watched more than 50 billion hours of gaming content in just the last 12 months.
“We have a strong and vibrant audience on the YouTube Gaming app, but the amount of gamers we are able to reach is far bigger on YouTube,” Chen says.