Just in time for E3, Google has unveiled YouTube Gaming: an offshoot of the popular online video site that puts the spotlight on both live and recorded video game content. The service is slated to take on livestreaming giant Twitch when it releases this summer on iOS, Android and the Web.
YouTube Gaming's dark and colorful user interface is a far cry from the plain white of its parent site, with featured gaming videos showcased prominently in the center and tabs for checking out your followed channels on the right. Unlike on plain old YouTube, you can also subscribe to specific games, ensuring that you'll see the latest League of Legends or Destiny videos as soon as they hit the Web.
YouTube Gaming doesn't just want to make gaming videos easier to find, though -- it wants to be a direct rival to Twitch, the popular Amazon-owned livestreaming platform that YouTube itself was once rumored to be buying. While YouTube already supports livestreaming, YouTube Gaming promises to have an improved chat system that makes it easier for fans to interact with their favorite gamers. Content creators can build their own colorful channel page with custom art, much like they can on Twitch.
YouTube's new platform is just one of several ways the company is getting more serious about gaming. The online video site will deliver a dedicated E3 hub for the first time, where gamers can watch all of the E3 2015 press conferences as well as hours of original E3-related programming hosted by veteran games journalist Geoff Keighley. Keighley's popular E3 productions had typically aired on national television via Spike TV prior to this year.
We'll have to try YouTube Gaming ourselves to see how it stacks up to Twitch, which has 100 million monthly users and is hosting its very own convention this September. Twitch recently gained features such as private 'Whisper' messages, and announced plans to broadcast select non-gaming events, such as network television shows.
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Mike Andronico is an Associate Editor at Tom's Guide. When he's not writing about games, PCs and iOS, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter. Follow Mike @MikeAndronico. Follow us@TomsGuide, onFacebook and onGoogle+.