YouTube started out as a video-sharing site, where you could share just about anything – within reason – for the whole internet to see. But over the past three to four years, YouTube has started rolling out new products, all with the “YouTube” name. There’s YouTube, YouTube Gaming, YouTube Kids, YouTube TV, and YouTube Music. Which gets a bit confusing, especially since all of the content for these services is hosted on the main YouTube site. The only one that’s actually a different product is YouTube TV, and that’s because it’s a paid streaming TV service that costs $40. And it only gets more confusing, especially since today YouTube announced that its YouTube Gaming platform has a new home. Go from gaming.youtube.com to youtube.com/gaming. It’s also shutting down its app next year, in favor of using the standard YouTube app, which makes sense because all of the YouTube Gaming app content was already in the YouTube app.
The case of YouTube Kids and YouTube TV
YouTube Kids should be separated from these services, and that’s because this app serves children. Allow parents to let their children sit and watch age-appropriate content. Without having to worry about whether their kids are watching something they shouldn’t be watching. Remember, this is the internet, so there’s a lot of content that kids shouldn’t consume. And allowing parents to limit what and how much their kids watch is actually a really big deal. So YouTube Kids should definitely stay separate from the rest of YouTube. But YouTube Gaming and Music? Not really.
YouTube TV is another service that should stay separate, and that’s because it’s a streaming TV service. YouTube TV is a service that costs $40 (or more, depending on your add-ons) per month to stream over 60 channels. That’s why it should stay separate, because not everyone wants to use YouTube TV, and of course there’s the game that has to be played with the various networks that want their licensing fees. But it makes sense to move TV shows away from regular YouTube here.
YouTube Music, YouTube Premium, Google Play Music Unlimited
Google really doesn’t know what it wants to do when it comes to music. He launched Google Play Music (All Access then renamed Unlimited) in 2013. It’s a streaming service for music, but then what is YouTube Music? The same thing, but under the YouTube brand. And what’s even more confusing is that YouTube Music has Following music, and if you pay for one service, you get both. Yeah, very confusing. Why does Google need two music services, especially with one having features the other doesn’t. For example, YouTube Music also offers music videos to accompany the songs. Google Play Music does this too, but it’s slightly different – it’s just a link to the YouTube video which then opens in the YouTube app.
Then there’s YouTube Premium, formerly YouTube Red. It used to be included with Google Play Music as well, but now that it’s gone to $11.99 per month, it’s not separate (but if you buy YouTube Premium, you get YouTube Music and Google Play Music included) . The music side of YouTube is arguably the most confusing of all the products YouTube currently owns.
Why YouTube Gaming Never Really Did It Alone
It’s quite simple, why would anyone want to download another app to watch gaming videos on YouTube? Especially when they can watch these videos in the pre-installed YouTube app on their smartphone? The app had very little value unless you were a YouTuber making gaming videos, especially streaming. Now, moving website addresses for YouTube Gaming really doesn’t mean much, the service was and always will be on YouTube’s domain. But YouTube is going to do more to highlight the creators of YouTube Gaming, starting with its Rising Game Creators, which will highlight creators who are getting noticed for some recent videos they’ve made. This is something that has not been done with the YouTube Gaming app as even the head of YouTube Gaming has said that the app is not good at making creators visible. He also said that many people watching gaming content on YouTube use the main YouTube app to watch those videos – which makes a lot of sense – and that’s why the app is going to be shut down in March 2019.
YouTube offers many services, do they have too many? May be. But they’re definitely confusing, especially when you look at the musical side of things. Seeing YouTube Gaming being pushed back into YouTube, after being splintered three years ago, isn’t a huge surprise, and we could see the same thing happen with YouTube Music in the future, if YouTube doesn’t find a way to differentiate the differences between it and Google Play Music. Right now, there aren’t many differences between the two, and for the average consumer, many won’t even know that there are two different services. YouTube Kids and YouTube TV are arguably YouTube’s least confusing services, and the two that should definitely stick around.