(Pocket-lint) - Google-owned YouTube has updated its YouTube Gaming service in order to better compete with Twitch. As part of that update, the app will now offer the ability to stream live video and gameplay from Android phones.

Google launched its YouTube Gaming initiative over the summer. It's a mobile app as well as a website, and they're both designed to showcase YouTube's gaming content, among other things. The service's most recent update, for instance, lets people use their front-facing cameras in order to appear in/narrate over games.

Apart from the new Android streaming functionality, YouTube Gaming has added a new subscription option. In a nutshell: people will be able to donate or pay a monthly fee for extra perks, like special badges and access to exclusive chat sessions. Those who donate will get badges that identify them as sponsors in forums.

Although it seems strange that people might be interested in watching others play casual games via their smartphones and tablets, Google said the amount of time spent watching game-related video and live streams of gameplay on YouTube exceeds more than 144 billion minutes each month. Amazing, right?

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Keep in mind, earlier today, PewDiePie was revealed to be the highest earning YouTuber in the last year, raking in an estimated $12 million before tax. He's known for being a foul-mouthed Swedish game commentator.

YouTube is therefore likely interested in bulking up YouTube Gaming with more commentary, live play, and on-demand features, so that it can continue rivaling Twitch and remain the "most watched platform for gamers". 

Writing by Elyse Betters.