YouTube is to launch a dedicated site and app for gaming in an attempt to take on Amazon-owned streaming service Twitch.
Twitch allows gaming fans to watch and interact with live broadcasts of others playing games.
Google – which owns YouTube – is understood to have made a bid for Twitch last year, only to be beaten by Amazon’s $970m (£620m) offer.
The search giant said the service would launch later this summer.
In a blog post, YouTube Gaming product manager Alan Joyce said: “On YouTube, gaming has spawned entirely new genres of videos, from let’s plays, walkthroughs, and speedruns to cooking and music videos. Now, it’s our turn to return the favour with something built just for gamers.”
Not ‘Call Me Maybe’
The Let’s Play trend has proven particularly popular. Channels that demonstrate how to build environments in “sandbox” game Minecraft command views into the hundreds of millions.
Advertising revenue is shared between the broadcaster and YouTube. Like Twitch, YouTube also allows for a “tip jar” function for viewers to send money to the broadcaster.
Mr Joyce said YouTube Gaming would provide an area on YouTube fenced off from the rest, so that “typing ‘call’ will show you
‘Call of Duty’ and not [pop song] ‘Call Me Maybe’.”
YouTube Gaming will consist of 25,000 individual game portals which bring together all the activity around each title on a single page.
Google will be hoping the new services will lure gamers away from rival Twitch which currently dominates the market for live online broadcasting. Around 12 billion hours of live gaming are watched on the site every month.
Another competitor, Steam Broadcasting, caters to PC gamers but is less popular.
YouTube Gaming’s launch will initially just be in the US and UK.