The Current State of YouTube Gaming

YouTube Gaming

From a humble beginning to a ubiquitous platform, YouTube has come a long way. To compete with the streaming platform of Twitch, YouTube launched its gaming division. In recent years, YouTube Gaming has become an integral part of internet culture.

YouTube Gaming is a popular platform that features live video games and on-demand video game content. Launched back in 2015, it has now become the trending game streaming platform in the industry. 

It stands as a popular go-to destination for gaming enthusiasts. The standalone site is a part of YouTube and is dedicated to streaming gaming-related videos. 

Even though Twitch still remains the champion in live streaming, the emergence of YouTube Gaming is giving it a tough challenge. The latter is gradually catching up with the pace. 

For instance, while the streaming hours of Twitch in September 2018 was 813 million hours, YouTube Gaming reached 226 million hours. 

The year 2018 witnessed about 200 million users logging in to the platform to view the gaming content. Also, the platform recorded a total watch time of over 50 billion hours for the same year. 

This shows its phenomenal growth, which continues to grow. Some of the top live games streamed on YouTube Gaming are PUBG Mobile, Fortnite, Minecraft, Counter-Strike, and more.

Below is a list of the top games viewed on the platform.

Source: Newzoo

Current Business Model

As you are probably already aware, YouTube provides a platform for individuals to upload their videos, share them, and comment on other people’s videos. Users can also watch uploaded videos for free. 

The platform also allows users to make money through the monetization of the videos. As a part of the YouTube platform, YouTube Gaming is specially dedicated to streaming gaming videos. The actual product that the platform sells is the users. 

The platform has been able to attract more than 1.8 billion users monthly. YouTube targets individuals of all age groups to stream their videos and subscribe to the videos of other users. The business model of the company is based on the advertisement, subscription, and YouTube premium. 

YouTube Gaming Revenue Sources

Embedded Advertisements

The platform earns its revenue through embedded advertisements. For the high ranking gaming videos of the streamers, companies provide advertisement which is played at the beginning of the video.  Through short video ads, the platform can generate revenues.

Sponsored Videos

Sponsored videos are another revenue-making source for the platform. In the case of the sponsored videos, the advertisers make payments to YouTube Gaming based on the number of views it receives.

YouTube Gaming Membership

Similar to the Twitch platform, YouTube Gaming now offers a sponsorship model. This is another way of generating revenues for the platform. The model enables the fans to sponsor particular channels by paying a monthly fee of $4.99. 

This allows them to access exclusive digital goods such as emojis and custom badges. A portion of the fees goes to YouTube Gaming, thereby making this model a revenue source for the platform. 

Partner Programs

Partner programs allow the streamers to avail of partnership offers. While the partnership programs benefit the content creators in several ways, the YouTube Gaming platform also gains a lot. Through partner programs, the platform is also able to generate revenues. 

Super Chat

The Super Chat feature is another way of making revenue for YouTube Gaming. It allows the fans to get noticed by their favorite YouTube game streamers. Through Super Chat, the fans make a payment to pin their comment and ensure that it is highlighted at the top. The payments can vary from $1 to $500, and the platform avails 30% of the revenue. 

YouTube Gaming Content

Coming to the primary content of YouTube Gaming, it streams a vast collection of gaming videos. The streams include on-demand video game content as well as the live video feed related to gaming. 

The popular gaming video content on the platform include:

  • League of Legends
  • Dota 2
  • Clash Royale
  • PUBG, Fortnite
  • Garena Free Fire
  • Minecraft
  • Brawl Stars
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Counter-Strike
  • World of Tanks
  • Shadow Corridor
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battleground
  • …and more

The platform also allows the viewers to find a wealth of content related to their favorite games and stay updated.

How do they serve the content creators?

The platform makes itself easily accessible for the game streamers or the content creators to stream their gaming videos. It is designed to make maximum investment in the content creators. 

Through vertical integration, YouTube Gaming encourages gaming streamers to use the platform. Google, YouTube’s parent company, can buy viewers through Stadia and enable integration with YouTube Gaming. This helps the content creators to earn millions.

Also, it has successfully expanded ways to allow content creators to make money from the viewers directly. Speaking of monetization, the company offers opportunities like partnership programs, memberships, and Super Chat to content creators to bring in more money. 

For instance, Nick Eh, who is Fortnite live streamer, has over 4 million subscribers and has benefited from the initiatives of the company intended for the game streamers. 

Nick has been able to engage with the community on the platform. Moreover, the membership, as well as the Super Chat feature has provided him with 50% of his total income. 

Apart from the initiatives mentioned above, YouTube Gaming offers its streamers various options similar to the other game streaming platforms. It also provides value to the content creators by welcoming them to the platform, ensuring that they have a stable income. 

YouTube Gaming focuses on distinct ways that will ensure monetization for content creators. 

How do they serve the audience?

YouTube Gaming is growing to be a popular platform for audiences to watch their favorite streamers’ game streaming. Viewers can also access the other video content available on the YouTube platform. 

It updates the audience about their favorite games and ensures a rewarding experience. Besides, the viewers can chat with their favorite streamers on the platform and gain better insights about the various games. 

Audience and Viewership

In the fourth quarter of 2019, YouTube Gaming witnessed an increase in the average Live concurrent streamers, at 419,600. While the figures were at 290,000 people in the first quarter of that same year, the growth seems to be quite impressive. The viewership has been continuously rising since the first quarter. (Source)

Source: Statista

Moreover, the increasing interest in YouTube Gaming is leading to the decline of viewership of Twitch. The total hours viewed on YouTube Gaming have increased to about 46% in Q4 compared to that in Q1 of 2019. 

The platform’s watch hour market share accounted for 27.6% in the last quarter of 2019. In the last quarter, it is the only platform that has witnessed growth in the hours streamed, watched, and concurrent viewership. 

Source: Quartz

A primary reason for the increase in its viewership is that the platform has now collaborated with the top Twitch streamers like Lannan “LazarBeam” Eacott, Elliott “Muselk” Watkins, and Rachell “Valkyrae” Hofstetter.

While the combined followers on Twitch was 1.5 million, it stands at 2.1 million on YouTube Gaming. The presence of the trio has given a boost to the viewership of YouTube Gaming. 

Demographics

Talking about the traffic on YouTube Gaming, the majority comes from the United States. Statistically, 73% of adults in the United States use the platform. 

There are 167.4 million monthly users on the platform from the US. The platform is mainly popular among the younger US population, falling under 18 to 24 years and 25 to 34 years. 

Source: Statista

Top Streamers

Speaking about the top streamers on YouTube Gaming, it includes PewDiePie with 104 million subscribers, JuegaGerman with 39 million subscribers, elrubiusOMG with 37.4 million subscribers, and Fernanfloo with 35.8 million subscribers. Other popular streamers include Vegetta777, Ninja, DanTDM, Authentic Games, Jelly, and more. 

YouTube Gaming Competition

Twitch 

One of the top competitors of YouTube Gaming is Twitch. Twitch is a popular live streaming platform for gamers, with more than 15 million users daily. The platform streams several different games, including Teamfight Tactics, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto V, and League of Legends

The ability to make good money through the Twitch partnerships and subscriptions attracts more streamers to the platform. The peak concurrent viewers of Twitch are 3,805,458. 

Facebook Gaming

A newcomer to the live streaming world is Facebook gaming. Facebook gaming recorded an increase in the number of streamers by 236% from 2018 to 2019. Apart from many popular streamers, the platform’s exclusive deals are attracting more and more viewers.

How do they plan to compete against their rivals?

The platform plans to partner with top game streamers in the industry to compete with the rivals successfully. The company also offers several plans to enhance the content creators’ earning opportunity, thereby attracting more streamers to stream its videos on the platform. 

Recently, PewDiePie, a YouTube megastar, signed an exclusive deal with YouTube for video game streaming. This deal comes as a massive blow to the competitors of YouTube Gaming like Twitch. 

Competitive Advantages

The ownership of YouTube Gaming by Google is one of the main competitive advantages that will enable its growth. Google is also integrating more features into the platform to make it more appealing. 

The popularity of Google’s search engine is another competitive advantage for the platform. It makes it found by the viewers through the search engine of Google. The easy accessibility and a wide range of features are among the other aspects that make YouTube Gaming different from the other platforms.

Weaknesses

The various controversies related to the YouTube platform itself is one of the potential weaknesses. Many have criticized YouTube in the past few years for catering too much to their advertisers rather than their content creators. The lack of quality of content on the gaming platform is another weakness that needs to be mentioned.

Conclusion

Even though YouTube Gaming is a relatively new platform, its popularity is growing over the years. The adoption of innovative strategies by Google has enabled it to achieve tremendous success. Though it has not been attained as lofty of a position as Twitch, it is gradually moving towards success and quickly catching up.

The platform is also collaborating with the top streamers to attract more viewers to the platform and provide more value to the content creators by creating alternative monetization opportunities. 

YouTube Gaming plans to build a more robust platform for gaming enthusiasts. The platform will focus more on the game publishers, gaming community, and the users for optimum success. 

The company aims at pushing a lot more innovative features into the platform to enhance its competitiveness. YouTube will offer new avenues and determine alternative monetization methods to promote YouTube Gaming in the near future.

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