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In August, however, Google started You Tube Gaming, a site catering exclusively to players, their fans, and advertisers hoping to reach them.
It features a new slate of live-streaming tools that directly target Twitch.
As Jimmy Kimmel, ABC’s late-night host, put it in a recent monologue: “To me, watching another person play video games is like going to a restaurant and having someone eat your food for you.” The segment ended with a skit in which God, looking down from on high, concludes: “I’ve created a race of idiots.” Twitch, which was launched in 2011 as the side project of a floundering San Francisco startup, has grown into a global vortex of adolescent veneration.
Last year the analytics firm Deepfield found that Twitch regularly broke into the top four users of Internet bandwidth, trailing only Netflix, Google, and Apple.
” Several months earlier, in early 2014, Valnicek had dropped out of the University of Saskatchewan, where she’d been an undergraduate studying accounting and law, to pursue a new kind of Internet career: playing video games for a live, online audience. Valnicek, whose bright green eyes and dyed black hair make her look like Shannen Doherty during her years, pressed on.
Occasionally, she’ll back away from the computer to show off one of her signature moves, nimbly moonwalking for the camera.
While Twitch dominates live-streaming, You Tube is the premier destination for recorded-and-edited gaming clips.
The most popular artist on all of You Tube is Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, aka Pew Die Pie, a 26-year-old Swede who’s grown rich laughing, screaming, and cursing maniacally while playing video games.
Stars such as Valnicek gather admirers as they narrate action, explain strategy, mock opponents, and celebrate victories. “Oh my God, it’s real.” Someone with the username Andy, a fan she’d never met, had just given her a D—her shorthand for donation—of almost ,000. Fans follow her footage on a website called Twitch, which bills itself as a social network for video game fans. Soon, for three hours a day, five days a week, using the screen name Kitty Plays Games, Valnicek was streaming herself playing death matches in various games, most frequently Counter-Strike, a popular first-person shooter.With Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch and Google’s launch of You Tube Gaming, they’re now squaring off over a critical component in the future of home entertainment.This year, according to EMarketer, You Tube will generate .28 billion in advertising revenue for Google.