The online video giant has been interested in live game streaming since its owner, Google, allegedly bid for Twitch last May, according to tech site Daily Dot. In the end, Twitch accepted a $970 million offer from Amazon.
YouTube began testing a live video service in 2010, showing a U2 concert and Indian Premier League cricket. However, the platform failed to take off and has been sidelined by the site.
In contrast, Twitch TV has built a vast audience by concentrating on gaming since its 2011 launch. Its platform shows big ‘eSports’ events, but also allows any gamers to broadcast their own footage. The site now boasts 100 million monthly users.
It is thought that gaming – and especially eSports – will now provide the focus of a “YouTube Live” offering, putting the service in direct competition with Twitch.
YouTube already has a vast talent base of gaming superstars. The site’s top ten gaming channels, including the likes of PewDiePie and StampyCat, were watched 2.2 billion times in January. If YouTube could persuade those gaming channels to operate on the new platform, it would have a formidable springboard.
YouTube is rumoured to make an announcement about its live streaming plans at the E3 gaming conference in June.