YouTube to help gamers build their audiences

YouTube says it's going to start "actively helping" gamers build their audiences.

It's part of a new multi-year deal the company has signed with FaceIt, one of the world's leading eSports platforms.

YouTube has bought the rights to exclusively live-stream events like the eSports Championship Series, which kicks off this weekend.

But it's also pledging to help gamers monetise their individual channels, to give eSports a "sustainable economy".

The ECS is FaceIt's biggest competition and revolves around the game Counter Strike: Global Offensive.

Up to now it's been broadcast on the website Twitch, YouTube's main competitor when it comes to gaming.

Qualifying for series three kicks off this weekend, an event which usually attracts hundreds of thousands of viewers.

FaceIt co-founder Michele Attisani says they're hoping that by giving YouTube exclusive broadcasting rights, they can attract more mainstream advertisers.

Much like in traditional sports leagues, such as the NFL, the teams involved in ECS own equity in the tournament.

And Michele says increased advertising money from live streams will "benefit the whole ecosystem".

One pro-gamer, however, has told Newsbeat he thinks the move could initially put viewers off.

Andreas Højsleth, or Xyp9x as he's known online, plays for a team called Astralis.

His team won ECS season two and he says so far in his career he's taken home around £200,000 in prize money.

"Twitch has been on this market for a long time and viewers are used to it, so maybe we'll see a viewership drop to begin with," he says.

"But I think it's great YouTube is showing interest. Up to now we've seen Twitch having a big share of the market and I think it's healthy that there's competition.

"For us players it means there's more money coming in."

But there's also another side to this deal - YouTube's pledge to help individual gamers.

"Tournament prize money is a one-off and we want to encourage players to create more sustainable incomes to help the scene grow," Michele Attisani adds.

He thinks this pledge could do just that.

"There are very popular influencers on YouTube who make a very significant living out of the content they publish.

"We want to give young players a chance to build their online personas and generate a fan base that ultimately they can monetise to provide a recurring revenue stream for their careers to thrive."

Ryan Wyatt, YouTube's global head of gaming content, says this deal marks their biggest investment in eSports to date.

"Seven out of the top 10 YouTubers in the US are gamers," he explains.

"So we actually think there is this great opportunity to start working with players on how they can improve their content.

"I actually think it will be a great move for eSports as a whole - this has been one of the missing pieces and now this gives us the one-on-one relationship that we need to have in order to groom gamers into our next YouTube stars."