Google may not have acquired Twitch as was long rumored, but it looks like it may still be getting into video game streaming in a big way. According to a report from The Daily Dot, Google-owned YouTube is set to launch a new live-streaming service that will have a heavy emphasis on video games, and e-sports in particular. The new service will reportedly be officially unveiled in June at the E3 gaming expo in Los Angeles.
"Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon."
Last year, reports surfaced that YouTube was set to acquire Twitch for $1 billion, though the streaming site was eventually snapped up by Amazon for $970 million last August. "Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said at the time. Since then, Twitch has continued to grow, opening up to new platforms like game consoles, and expanding into new areas including live music. Meanwhile, events like Twitch plays Pokemon have turned into cultural sensations. According to the company's 2014 recap, Twitch now boasts 100 million viewers each month and 1.5 million broadcasters.
Likewise, e-sports continues to grow in size and importance. Last year's championship tournament for Valve's Dota 2 featured a prize pool of $10 million and viewership of more than 20 million people, and was even featured on the front page of The New York Times. Competitor League of Legends features more than 67 million players each month, meanwhile, and major developers like Blizzard are also creating their own new entries into popular e-sport genres.
Given all of that, it's no surprise that YouTube is looking to jump in — despite the company's less-than-stellar track record with live streaming. "Google doesn't want to be too far behind in the arms race," one source told The Daily Dot.