Since Amazon bought out Twitch in 2014 for a deal worth $970 million in cash, YouTube has consistently been on the back foot in terms of content innovation and revenue.
In 2015 Google launched a competitive service called “YouTube Gaming”, a direct answer to Twitch’s dominance of streaming for online and gaming content. YouTube Gaming launched with a special sub-section of the YouTube website and a companion app.
Things looked up for Google, until the trend turned against them. Even though the site brought in billions in gross revenue. For example, BofA predicted YouTube’s revenue will hit $13 billion in 2017. And this all developed after brands like GSK, Pepsi, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson and many more pulled their ads from the service.
Then in 2017 the “Adpocalypse” struck after repeated waves of controversy destroyed a lot of advertiser confidence in YouTube as a platform. A combination of new advertiser controls, mass de-monetization of content and general creator burnout created the perfect storm of poor PR and growth that made it much harder for YouTube to compete with the cash-flushed Twitch and its superior streaming platform. Some channels saw as much as a 99% drop in overall revenue as a result of these issues.
These problems got worse over time, until finally, the service known as Youtube Gaming was closed for good this week, at least as an independent service. The main features that will now be rolled into the main website over the coming months.
In a statement provided to the press, Google had the following to say about the shutdown:
We’re always working to make the gaming experience on YouTube better. Over the past few years we’ve focused on building tools and experiences that the gaming community has been asking for.
That’s why in 2015, we launched YouTube Gaming, a standalone app for gamers where we tested new features like Game Pages for better discoverability, Super Chat and Channel Memberships to help fans show support for their favorite creators, Dark Theme and even a new live streaming platform based on the gaming community’s feedback.
The response to these features has been so positive that we brought them over from the YouTube Gaming app to the main YouTube experience.