In what will further fan the flames of speculation that Google is acquiring Twitch or some kind of partnership deal with Youtube is being inked, Youtube have added a new feature that allows users to link to their Twitch streams.
Twitch users with Youtube channels can now implement an annotation across all of their videos that pops up on the left hand corner and notifies viewers when their Twitch stream has gone live. The annotation works as a link, sending direct traffic to Twitch.
“These alerts are designed to direct people watching your videos on YouTube to your content as it happens on Twitch … keeping your current audience up to date and even bringing new viewers to your channel.”
While Youtube already allow links to social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook, and even partner websites, it would seem unlikely they would allow such integration with in what many ways is a rival – unless a business agreement had taken place.
For those unfamiliar Twitch.tv is primarily a live video streaming website with a strong focus on video game content. The core concept is that it allows users to stream their gaming action – a contemporary equivalent of going to a friend’s house and watching them play.
Its popularity has soared to the point where it is the number one live streaming site in the US, based on traffic. That’s a huge accomplishment and it would be no surprise if Youtube want in on the action.
While the traditionally on-demand platform has launched it’s own live streaming feature, the bugs are still being ironed out and it’s certainly not as user friendly as the likes of Twitch, Justin.tv, UStream or LiveStream.
Could this a be sign that Youtube are going to swallow Twitch and make it their own?
It’s too early to tell but Variety broke the story last month that the Google asset has put $1 billion on the table to make the deal happen, though “talks are at an early stage.”
Twitch users are quite rightfully concerned, the old adage “if it aint broke don’t fix it” has never been a Youtube principal, and there are also copyright fears as well. Twitch has been able to sneak by without any major issue with gaming companies, but Youtube have its own agreements and policies that would likely clash with those of Twitch.
For now the new annotation feature is great for content creators and viewers alike, but what the future holds is not exactly clear.