The record-setting International Dota 2 Championships came to a conclusion over the weekend with the Evil Geniuses defeating CDED Gaming and taking home more than $6.6 million in prize money (CDED earned a respectable $2.85 million for its second-place finish).
The fifth iteration of the incredibly popular event was streamed live over both Twitch and YouTube. As The Verge points out, such was also the case last year although there was a pretty big difference this time around.
For YouTube, last year’s tournament is one they’d like to forget. Streams were unreliable at best, plagued by dreaded buffering delays and the like. For 2015, YouTube got its act together, offering 1080p resolution streams at 60 frames per second with minimal interruptions. This was pretty much on par with the experience that Twitch offered although the inclusion of one additional feature made YouTube the platform of choice this past weekend.
YouTube offered up a virtual DVR, allowing viewers to pause and rewind the action up to two hours back. This meant viewers could start watching a bit late, jump around at leisure and even skip past the downtime between matches (assuming they weren’t watching in real-time, of course).
The story behind the story here has nothing to do with the International Dota 2. What’s impressive is how far YouTube has come with its livestreaming capabilities over the past year and it has rival Amazon and Twitch to thank for it.
If you can’t buy it (or get beat to the punch trying to buy it), build your own version that’s even better. That’s the approach YouTube has taken with its new live streaming gaming service, YouTube Gaming.
As you may recall, Google had all but sealed the deal on its acquisition of Twitch a year ago before Amazon swooped in at the eleventh hour to snatch up the hot commodity. Instead of seeking out a rival service to acquire, Google set about building its own competitor that’ll arrive later this summer.
The Dota 2 livestream gave YouTube the perfect opportunity to test out the technology that’ll power YouTube Gaming before it goes live. And while things seem to have played out without incident, Google and YouTube still have a huge hurdle to overcome.
Twitch launched in mid-2011 and has since built up a massive following of both gamers and viewers. YouTube, meanwhile, is the world’s most popular source for consuming user-generated videos. While there will no doubt be some Twitch defectors (and newcomers) looking for a fresh start with YouTube Gaming, spreading the word and convincing loyal Twitch users to jump ship won’t be easy.