Better connected: will fans ditch Twitch and flock to YouTube Gaming upon its Hong Kong release today?

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 April, 2016, 4:43pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 April, 2016, 5:12pm

Gaming enthusiasts in Hong Kong have reason to rejoice after YouTube rolled out a dedicated video platform in the city today for gamers as people spend more time watching this kind of content.

YouTube Gaming allows Hongkongers to search and browse videos by sorting them based on game titles and publishers. YouTubers in the city can also live stream their games to subscribers.

Globally, people have spent about 60 per cent more time watching gaming videos on YouTube so far this year compared to the same period in 2015, according to the company.

About half of the site’s gaming content is viewed on mobile, the company said, adding that it has also rolled out Android and iOS versions of the platform.

The Android app lets YouTubers broadcast live streams of them playing mobile games to their followers using the phone’s front-facing camera.

Viewers will be able to see both the gamer and the action on the screen. They get notifications whenever a YouTuber they follow starts broadcasting live.

“[Before YouTube Gaming], there was only one major game-streaming platform, Twitch,” said Jason Chau, Hong Kong’s most popular gaming YouTuber.

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“However, all my followers are only on YouTube. If I want to live stream a game, I’d have to build up an audience [in Twitch], which isn’t ideal.”

Chau, who goes by the nickname Big J, has over 390,000 subscribers on his channel. He regularly posts videos of himself playing PC and mobile games.

“With YouTube Gaming, all my existing followers can easily be notified when I go live,” said Chau.

The platform was rolled out in the United States and United Kingdom in August and Australia last month. It was expanded to nine other regions and countries including Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan on Thursday.

“YouTube Gaming is an app that keeps you connected to the games, players, and culture that matter to you, with videos, live streams, and the biggest community of gamers on the web all in one place,” said Ryan Wyatt, global head of gaming partnerships at YouTube.

“We automatically pull in all gaming-related videos and live streams from YouTube to YouTube Gaming.”

Chau said the roll-out of YouTube Gaming in Hong Kong gives viewers more choice about where to consume gaming videos.

The YouTube Gaming platform boasts over 25,000 game titles. When viewers search for a particular game on YouTube, such as Super Mario Bros, all videos classified under the title are sorted into different categories such as reviews and so-called “Let’s Plays”, or videos that include gamers’ commentary.