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 bearing the "YouTube" name. There's YouTube, YouTube Gaming, YouTube Kids, YouTube TV, and YouTube Music. Which gets to be a bit confusing, especially since all of the content from these services are hosted on YouTube's main site. The only one that is actually a different product, is YouTube TV, and that's because it is a paid streaming TV service that costs $40. And this is only getting more confusing, especially since today, YouTube announced that its YouTube Gaming platform was getting a new home. Moving from gaming.youtube.com to youtube.com/gaming. It is also shuttering its app next year, in favor of using the regular YouTube app – which makes sense because all of the content in the YouTube Gaming app was already in the YouTube app.
The Case For YouTube Kids & YouTube TV
YouTube Kids should be separate, out of these services, and that is because this app is serving kids. Allowing parents to let their kids sit down and watch content that is age-appropriate. Without needing to worry about whether their kids are watching something they shouldn't be watching. Remember this is the Internet, so there's plenty of content out there that kids should not be consuming. And allowing parents to limit what their kids are watching and how much they are watching, is actually a really big deal. So YouTube Kids should definitely remain separate from the rest of YouTube. But YouTube Gaming and Music? Not so much.
YouTube TV is another service that should remain separate, and that's because it is 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 right there is why it should remain separate, because not everyone wants to use YouTube TV, and of course there is the game that has to be played with the different networks that want their licensing fees. But it makes sense to keep 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. It launched Google Play Music (All Access then later renamed to Unlimited) back in 2013. It's a streaming service for music, but then what is YouTube Music? The same thing, but under the YouTube-branding. And what's even more confusing is that YouTube Music has more 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 that the other does not have. For instance, YouTube Music also offers music videos to go along with the songs. Google Play Music does as well, but it's slightly different – it's just a link to the YouTube video that then opens in the YouTube app.
Then there's YouTube Premium, formerly YouTube Red. It used to also be included with Google Play Music, but now that it has gone up to $11.99 per month, it is not separate (but if you purchase YouTube Premium, you get YouTube Music and Google Play Music included). The music side of YouTube is arguably the most confusing out of all of the products that YouTube currently has.
Why YouTube Gaming was never really successful on its own
It's pretty simple, why would someone want to download another app to watch gaming videos from YouTube? Especially when they can view those videos in the YouTube app that is pre-installed on their smartphone? There was very little value to the app, unless you were a YouTuber doing gaming videos, especially streaming. Now the moving of website addresses for YouTube Gaming really doesn't mean much, the service was and still is going to be on YouTube's domain. But YouTube is going to be doing more to highlight YouTube Gaming creators, starting with its Gaming Creators on the Rise, which is going to highlight creators that are getting noticed for some recent videos that they've done. This is something that wasn't done with the YouTube Gaming app, as even the head of YouTube Gaming has said that the app was not good at making creators visible. He also stated that many people watching gaming content on YouTube were using the main YouTube app to watch these videos – which makes plenty of sense – and that's why the app is going to be shut down in March 2019.
YouTube has plenty of services, do they have too many? Maybe. But they are definitely confusing, especially when looking at the music side of things. Seeing YouTube Gaming being pushed back into YouTube, after being broken out three years ago, is not a huge surprise, and we might see the same thing happen with YouTube Music in the future, if YouTube can't figure out a way to differentiate the differences between it and Google Play Music. Right now, there's not 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 the least confusing services from YouTube, and the two that should definitely stick around.