Google is retiring its YouTube Gaming app and folding some of the features into a new gaming destination on its main site, the company said on Tuesday, September 18.
The app launched in 2015 as part of efforts to take on video-gaming platform Twitch, but in a post on the YouTube blog on Tuesday, the company said it intends to retire the Android and iOS app in March 2019 and instead turn its attention to improving its gaming offerings on the main YouTube site.
YouTube Gaming — the app and desktop versions — offers livestreams and archived videos of tens of thousands of games, each one with its own page. Live chats with other gamers is another feature of the service, and players can peruse video recommendations based on their favorite games.
In its post, YouTube said that although it has a “strong and vibrant audience” for its gaming app, “the amount of gamers we are able to reach is far bigger on YouTube,” which around 200 million gamers visit on a daily basis. In other words, too few people were downloading and using the YouTube gaming app.
A brand-new gaming destination can be found at youtube.com/gaming (YouTube’s old gaming site is still live at the time of writing), which should include enough stuff to keep even the most dedicated gamers happy. As you’d expect, you’ll find top live games and the latest gaming videos from your subscriptions, as well as dedicated shelves for livestreams and trending videos. Keen to grow its creator base, YouTube will also be highlighting up-and-coming creators who are emerging as popular figures among YouTube’s gaming fans.
YouTube’s gaming app allowed Google developers to test new features that included “Game Pages for better discoverability, Super Chat and Channel Memberships to help fans show support for their favorite creators, and Dark Theme.” Audience response to these features was “so positive” that developers transferred them from the YouTube Gaming app to the main YouTube experience.
YouTube said more than 50 billion hours of gaming content was viewed on its streaming service in 2017. With this renewed effort to improve the experience for gamers on its main site, it can realistically hope to push that figure even higher throughout the rest of this year.