YouTube is one of the most used Internet streaming service in the world but when it comes to game live streaming, Twitch, now owned by Amazon, still known as the best there is even in the face of competition. Naturally, YouTube wanted to challenge that status quo and make itself the hub of all gaming-related video activities— its solution of a standalone YouTube Gaming app failed and its officially pulling the plug on that standalone app in just a few days.
Back in September of 2018, Google announced plans to merge YouTube Gaming with the standard YouTube platform and immediately made its content available in both locations—Now at this point, most users have probably already shifted over to the standard site and app for game streams and other related content, as the features from Gaming started migrating over last year with the original announcement. Google has previously said that Gaming is shutting down to keep everything in one place, as well as the lack of popularity of the standalone app.
As a part of the merger, YouTube has combined existing subscriptions and the gaming channel followings as well. According to an updated help page, the main purpose of the gaming app was to test out new features based on the gaming community’s feedback—If you’re still using the mobile apps and website, they’ll stop functioning on May 30th. On the web, the gaming.youtube.com URL will presumably redirect to the Channel page that’s been live for the past few months. A brief message from Google’s support page on the topic reads:
“The YouTube Gaming app will go away on May 30, but you’ll be able to find all of your favorite gaming videos in the YouTube main app at www.youtube.com/gaming. Learn more about Gaming on YouTube here.
“We launched YouTube Gaming as a standalone app for gamers where we tested out new features based on the Gaming community’s feedback,” Google explains in its support FAQ. “We want to continue to build a stronger home for the gaming community that thrives on YouTube, not just the YouTube Gaming app. More than 200M of you come to the main YouTube app to engage with your favorite games and creators every month.”
According to Ryan Wyatt, Google Director for Gaming Content and Partnerships:
“When we launched the YouTube gaming app, I think there was a lot of brand confusion in the market of like, ‘Well, is this just a live gaming app and experience? What’s gonna happen to gaming on YouTube versus YouTube gaming app? And so we’re hoping that this time around, with us moving it to YouTube [proper], it’s a clear signal to the community that we care very much about gaming, that we want gaming on YouTube … to continue to thrive and be a big part. I think we had a big misstep and confusion there.
The new hub (www.youtube.com/gaming) has many of the same features as the soon-to-be-gone application, just built-in to regular ol’ YouTube. According to Google, many YouTube visitors still searched for and watched gaming videos in the traditional app, which essentially made the dedicated app inconsequential. This restructuring of the service brings all the gamers back to YouTube proper.
Notably, some features of YouTube were first tested in the Gaming app, such as dark mode and channel subscriptions. With this in mind, it’s a sad day that we’re saying goodbye to the standalone app if simply for its status as the “first” for now-integral features.
In regards to the content that you may have saved on YouTube Gaming app, YouTube says that there is no way to transfer the games that you have saved on YT Gaming app however they are exploring ways better organize your gaming interests. The app was supposed to be killed off in March 2019, but the company seemingly missed that deadline. Whatever the reason for that delay, it looks like the app will indeed be gone for good in just a couple of days.