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YouTube reportedly prepping launch of game-streaming service to take on Twitch

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It seems Google hasn’t given up hope of getting involved in the game-streaming scene, with a report Tuesday suggesting it’s gearing up to relaunch YouTube Live in a format that’ll see it do battle with Twitch.

Twitch, you may or may not recall, is the live-stream gaming site that was picked up by Amazon last year for a figure just shy of $1 billion. Shortly before the e-commerce giant signed the deal, Google had reportedly been close to buying the startup, but backed out over antitrust issues.

Apparently still determined to launch a Twitch-like service that’d include a particular focus on eSports events, Google has reportedly assembled a team of around 50 engineers with live-stream expertise.

Speaking to the Daily Dot, a source claiming to have knowledge of Google’s plans said gaming and eSports are set to become “a big driving force for the new-look YouTube Live.”

The unnamed source added that there’ll soon be “huge opportunities” for established streamers and organizations [and] record numbers of eSports viewers are only going to grow when Google start promoting and partnering with these events.”

As the Daily Dot points out in its report, Google-owned YouTube has already dabbled in eSports, live streaming the League of Legends World Championship since 2013. However, the video-streaming giant doesn’t have exclusive rights, a situation that’s left many fans watching on Twitch and other competing sites. If Google’s rumored service is to succeed, it’ll likely be doing what it can to secure exclusive deals to provide YouTube-only content to game-streaming fans.

YouTube, whose recent live-stream efforts have never really taken off, could launch the new service this year, with an announcement possible at the E3 gaming expo in June.

Amazon put down $970 million for Twitch when it acquired the startup last year. The fast-growing site said recently it’d averaged 100 million unique monthly viewers in 2014, a figure that apparently hasn’t gone unnoticed by the folks at Google.

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Trevor Mogg
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