YouTube said it will begin creating metaverse experiences on its video platform, starting with gaming, following competitors’ investments in the animated category.
“We will work to bring more interactions to games and make them feel more alive,” Neal Mohan, YouTube’s director of product, said in a blog post on Thursday. “It’s still early days, but we’re excited to see how we can make these virtual worlds a reality for viewers.”
The world’s largest video site, owned by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, has supported virtual reality video since 2016. Google launched its Cardboard virtual reality platform in 2014 and a much-derided augmented reality device, Google Glass, in 2013. The company has been slower than its rivals to discuss its plans for the much-touted metaverse, an immersive digital world where users will interact with digital objects and each other.
While many are skeptical that the metaverse is much more than a VR rebrand, others in the tech industry think it will be the next major platform for social media, gaming, digital asset ownership, and more. . Google has its own VR/AR division but hasn’t released plans for any devices in the field.
Meanwhile, Meta Platforms Inc., formerly Facebook, changed its name to signal an existential commitment to the metaverse. Microsoft Corp. has said it is bringing workplace collaboration software into the virtual world. You can also capitalize on the change through your game properties.
Some of the most popular creators on YouTube specialize in streaming video games. The company has fired several broadcasters from its rival Twitch. Last month, YouTube gaming boss Ryan Wyatt departed for a crypto company.
In the blog post, Mohan also said that YouTube would continue to invest in Shorts, its TikTok rival from ByteDance Ltd., by adding new video effects and tools, as well as the ability to shop from one of the quick videos.
People watch more than 700 million hours of YouTube content on their TVs every day, making it the company’s fastest-growing screen. Now, Mohan said the company would soon allow viewers to use their phones to interact with content playing on their TVs.
YouTube is still trying to “improve” its comments section, the executive added. The company will allow video creators to set channel guidelines to control the tone of conversations, which have been biting at times. The site will also give its creators more information about the types of videos viewers want to see, to help them decide what to produce next.