Google is doubling down on its investment in its Twitch competitor, YouTube Gaming, with today’s launch of a new feature in its Google Play Games app that will allow users to record and share their best moments directly from their favorite mobile games. Essentially, the addition is a built-in tool for recording gameplay and video commentary, then editing and uploading that content to YouTube.
The feature, clearly, is meant to help Google increase the amount of video game-related content housed on YouTube – content which now has its own dedicated mobile application, thanks to this summer’s debut of YouTube Gaming. There, users can browse through over 25,000 pages dedicated to specific games, where they can peruse channels, videos and even live streams.
Google says that, every month, more than 144 billion minutes of gaming videos and live streams are watched on YouTube. To illustrate how popular this video content has become, the company also points out that some channels, like VanossGaming and TobyGames, generate millions of views – numbers that equate to those of famous Hollywood celebs or musicians.
While YouTube itself made changes to its live streaming tool at the time of YouTube Gaming’s launch to simplify the broadcasting experience, the Google Play Games app feature makes it even easier for novices who just want to record then share their gameplay, though not necessarily as a live stream. (Live streaming support is planned for the future, Google tells us.)
To use the new feature, users select the game they want to play from the Google Play Games app, then tap the record button. Gameplay can be captured in 720p or 480p, and gamers can choose to add video of themselves and commentary using their device’s front-facing camera and microphone. When the recording is complete, the app lets you quickly edit the video then publish it to YouTube.
The recording feature’s rollout speaks to Google’s key advantage in the video streaming space. For Android users, it can leverage its own mobile platform, and has the ability to deeply integrate its publishing tools into its own mobile properties, like Google Play Games. Meanwhile, YouTube creators can tap into their existing audiences on the video-sharing site when they want to expand into gaming videos.
That being said, rival Twitch, now owned by Amazon, has the potential for deeper platform integrations as well, and has already established itself as the go-to destination for video game streams, gaming competitions and as a place to check out new games ahead of purchase. Meanwhile, YouTube is still thought of as a general-purpose destination for video content – a notion it’s been trying to change in recent months by spinning out select verticals as standalone destinations, including gaming and kids’ videos, as well as offering tools aimed specifically at creators.
The new game-recording feature is rolling out now to the Google Play Games application on Google Play to users in the U.S. and U.K. Google says it plans to expand globally soon after.
Following this release, Google says it will also soon launch an SDK for developers, so they can build the gameplay recording functionality right in their own apps and games.