Google tried almost a year ago to buy Twitch, but lost to Amazon who brought it off for something near 1$ Billion. Hard to tell if Google offer was lower than Amazon or if Google had too much in mind for the platform and scared them off.
Now that the platform is online and YouTube has proven they know what they are doing, Twitch has every reason to be scared.
Most of the big streamers on Twitch were already using YouTube to archive their work. Who could have thought, people spend countless hours producing live quality show and they want to archive it? YouTube was pretty much the easiest place to go to for streamers to archive their video feed. It only made sense for YouTube to move into gaming live streaming.
Some might say the YouTube interface is too dark, but I personally like it. I am not a big fan of people using their cellphone at the theater. Somehow I feel it's related. A few updates has been done since it's launch last week and we can already see them responding to comments; bigger controls, more exposure to content instead of UI, etc. Aside from the dark theme, the application is pretty close to the Material Design guidelines.
YouTube is using RTMP, just like Twitch, and I really wonder if it would be possible to use WebRTC to publish to it. Even if it means using a WebRTC gateway to translate for the RTMP server, it would be pretty awesome. It might also be a nice niche SASS opportunity.
YouTube is pushing HTML5 videos instead of flash, like Twitch. It has some very nice advantages and a bit of pitfalls as well. Being able to put the video on pause (from a live stream!) is a really nice addition.
YouTube also let you stream (and watch) at 1080p60hz. You can also go back in the stream and play at twice the speed.
It's really insane that YouTube has been able to pull it off in such a short amount of time. Yes, they had a video platform already, but getting all those features right in such amount of time impress me. I wish I had followed Twitch closer since last year so I could at least try to compare.
It's not clear yet how streamer will be able to make money, but it's easy to see how. Google has a very big ad network and could use this new platform to leverage new deals dedicated to gaming advertisers. I'm sure Google will find a way to make this profitable for everyone.
I really think YouTube got themselves a very good starting point. I just hope they will keep adding/perfecting features to it and get more involved in the gaming community. I feel bad for Twitch, the smaller player in the house (that still got brought off at 1$ Billion...), but I hope they take this competition seriously and try to get better.