YouTube Fires Another Shot Against Twitch in Live Stream Gaming Battle

YouTube has fired another shot in its ongoing battle with Twitch for supremacy in the online video gaming space.

Yesterday, the Google-owned video hosting platform announced that users can now record and live stream mobile game play on-the-go directly from Android devices using Mobile Capture on YouTube Gaming. Currently, Twitch does not have mobile streaming capabilities.

Users who want to share their mad skills with Plants Vs. Zombies or Jetpack Joyride need only to tap Go Live (or their avatar on a phone) in the YouTube Gaming app, turn on their selfie cam and record commentary with the phone’s microphone.

On Thursday, YouTube Gaming played a little catch-up with Twitch, adding fan funding and sponsorships. But the features are still in beta and available only to a small group of creators, whereas Twitch’s subscription program is open to all partners. With YouTube Gaming’s program, fans pay a small monthly fee to receive extra perks including a live chat badge chosen by the creator and access to exclusive chat sessions.

A report released in August by SuperData found that while Twitch received significantly less traffic than YouTube (14 million monthly visitors, according to Quantcast, versus YouTube’s 180 million), it managed to capture 43% of the $3.8 billion in total annual revenue generated by the gaming vertical, while YouTube had 36%. But those figures calculated prior to the launch of YouTube Gaming.

In addition to its new mobile streaming capabilities, YouTube Gaming has a technical advantage over Twitch. Its live streams run at 60 frames per second (fps) with HTML5 browser technology, which doesn’t require an Adobe Flash plugin. Twitch, on the other hand, offers 60 fps, but no HTML5 compatibility, and it uses Flash, which has a reputation as a CPU hog. But how much this means to gamers is open to debate.

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