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YouTube announces new live-streaming video API for game developers

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YouTube Gaming Video Stats
YouTube Gaming Video Stats

YouTube has been making a big push into live streaming as a means of expanding the types of content it can offer users, and here at GDC the company has announced a new set of programming APIs to make the process even easier for game developers. The new APIs allow developers to send YouTube a live stream of video coming from a game, and YouTube will then transcode the video in real time, providing the appropriate version for various YouTube users. The company has offered similar features to some partners in the past — YouTube touted BlackOps 2 as a particularly popular example — but the new platform will expand the number of developers that can participate, as well as take the live video streams beyond just the desktop: they'll now be available for Android and iOS users as well.

YouTube Developer Programs Engineer Ibrahim Ulukaya walked the crowd through the new APIs, which will also allow content creators to schedule breaks in their stream — for dropping in a still or an ad, for example. The announcement came in a presentation to developers in which YouTube touted the benefits of video integration as a means for not just promoting games, but for offering a unique way for users to share their gaming experiences. "Video is the most powerful tool to enable to that to happen," said YouTube product manager Satyajeet Salgar.

"Video is the most powerful tool to enable to that to happen."

Sharing video streams from games has become a point of particular focus recently, with Sony touting a similar feature in its PlayStation 4 announcement. The massive reach of YouTube makes it the obvious destination for developers looking to support this kind of feature (during the presentation, the company mentioned that a third of all gaming-related searches on the web happen on YouTube). Unfortunately, there's as of yet no mention of broader streaming capabilities coming for regular YouTube users that want to stream their own video content. The company currently only opens up those abilities to content providers that it has vetted, but YouTube assured us that the hope is to eventually bring the capability to users of all kinds.