Poker players now have another place to live stream their games—the newly launched YouTube Gaming, which will be a rival to Twitch, a popular live streaming service that belongs to Amazon.
YouTube Gaming was launched one year after Twitch.tv was acquired by Amazon for $970 million. Google, the parent company of YouTube, had also placed a bid for Twitch.tv, but pulled out of it.
YouTube Gaming, however, does not have a live streaming category for poker at present, but this does not mean that it will not turn out to be one of the toughest competitors Twitch.tv will ever have. Over the next year, it may even surpass Twitch.
Search results for poker at YouTube Gaming show Zynga Poker at the top, but none of the top online poker giants such as European Poker Tour (EPT), PokerStarsTV, or PokerStars. Although not native to YouTube, EPT live streams are exported to YouTube regularly. Strangely, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) comes sixth in the search results.
Currently, players can view several poker videos, but all of these videos can be easily accessed on its sister site. Twitch, on the other hand, has a category that is especially dedicated to poker. Recently, Twitch also signed a two-year live streaming deal with Jason Somerville as it is very much interested in poker as a great game for live streaming.
Currently, YouTube Gaming has nothing for poker players, but it has one advantage over Twitch as it does not require any external software for going live. Holders of active YouTube accounts can start live streaming immediately after a brief mobile phone verification procedure similar to that at Google Hangouts. This feature is sure to attract a number of new live poker streamers who find it difficult to work with third-party software programs that allow them to go live. But live streamers who are well-settled in Twitch are least likely to migrate to YouTube Gaming.
In addition, monetizing YouTube Gaming channels through the YouTube Partner Program is difficult unless one is willing to put in several hours of work to attract viewers in thousands. At Twitch.tv, only Somerville is making any big money through live streaming, and a few others are making a decent amount.
Currently, Twitch live streamers use copyrighted music to fill in tournament breaks. This will not be possible for YouTube Gaming live streamers because YouTube flags accounts of those who use copyrighted music, even songs bought at iTunes.