Google is retiring the YouTube Gaming app later this month. The app is set to shut down on May 30, as Google hopes to “build a stronger home for the gaming community that thrives on YouTube, not just the YouTube Gaming app.” All gaming content will still be accessible through the main YouTube app.
A hopeful competitor to Amazon-owned streaming site Twitch, YouTube Gaming originally launched in 2015 as both a website and an app for Android and iOS. Over the course of its development, the YouTube Gaming app was updated with the goal of highlighting creators; a new hub was launched in September 2018 with finding new games and streamers as a priority.
“The problem is, if you didn’t have the app, or you weren’t using the gaming hub to kind of like discover this content, creators weren’t as discoverable,” Ryan Wyatt, head of gaming at YouTube, told Polygon during the September launch. “So many of these users are just using YouTube and the regular YouTube experience. You’d have some people that funneled through into the gaming app, or the gaming destination, but we were finding we still weren’t touching many people daily.”
Google pulled the app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store earlier this year.
The decision to shutter the YouTube Gaming app largely seems focused on funneling traffic to the main YouTube app, as opposed to splintering audience across multiple destinations. Google recommends users who have saved content on the YouTube Gaming app merge their subscriptions with the main YouTube app, but otherwise does not anticipate any major changes to most users’ day-to-day browsing.
Google recently committed itself to gaming in a big way with Google Stadia, a new service designed to stream high-end video games over the internet. YouTube is at the core of Google Stadia; viewers will be able to play games directly from trailers on YouTube, find video walkthroughs via Google Assistant, and join their favorite YouTube streamers in multiplayer games.