I watch a lot of spedrunners and the occasional eSports event on twitch/hitbox. I watched a friend try out youtube's streaming today, because he was excited about it. It seemed competent but not really a serious threat to twitch, at least for now.
First, the pros:
- They appear to offer lower quality re-encodes to all streams, whereas Twitch only provides them for partners and streams with a lot of viewers (because re-encodes cost them CPU). This is a nice perk for people who would like to stream at a high resolution/bitrate, but still allow users with bad internet / mobile users to watch them.
- Support for higher bitrates (above 3500kbps)
- Youtube has built-in "DVR" functionality, where you can pause and rewind the video at any time during a stream, and then catch back up to "live" when you choose. This is actually a very cool feature that is not offered by Twitch, Hitbox, etc.
And now, the cons:
- The interface is bare bones. There's no way to pop out the stream video or the chat. The streamer "profile" page is AWFUL. There's no indicator on the main youtube site that someone you're following is currently livestreaming--you have to go specifically to the gaming subdomain and then pop out the right-side panel.
- The chat interface doesn't support commands or even emotes (/me). It has no timestamps. It has no user list to see who is watching (no way to know if the person you're chatting with has suddenly left)
It remains to be seen whether ContentID (or similar) will become a serious problem with youtube's streaming service. It also remains to be seen if they'll follow in twitch's footsteps and implement those silly graphical chat emotes--they're a big part of the twitch culture, and are obviously rather popular, though I for one would be glad to see them go.