Amazon, not Google, acquires Twitch for US$970m in cash

26 Aug 2014

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It turns out Amazon and not internet giant Google, as previously believed, has acquired video platform for gamers Twitch for US$970m in cash, making Amazon the new kingmaker in the video-games space.

Last month, it was widely reported that Google was buying Twitch for an estimated US$1bn and planned to integrate Twitch into its YouTube division.

However, certainty morphed into confusion as lack of a confirmation of a deal from the Google camp had many in the industry ask themselves “well, did it happen?” The silence was deafening.

It happened all right, only e-commerce giant Amazon is the buyer and not Google.

It is understood Google balked at the last minute due to anti-trust concerns – pretty understandable, considering YouTube is the biggest video content site on the internet, with Twitch coming up fast in the rear-view mirror.

Overnight, Amazon confirmed the deal. CEO Jeff Bezos said Twitch is a compelling 21st-century broadcasting platform that has more than 55m unique visitors viewing more than 15bn minutes of content produced by more than 1m broadcasters, from gamers to publishers.

The quintessential 21st-century digital broadcasting platform

“Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month – from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old,” Bezos said.

“Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community.”

Twitch enables video gamers to broadcast their gameplay from the PC, Xbox One or PlayStation 4 to the internet, in some cases making celebrities out of skilled gamers.

According to Sandvine, Twitch represented 1.35pc of all internet traffic. The site has more than 50m monthly active users and more than 1.1m members broadcast their gaming videos every month.

Twitch’s creators are the founders of Justin.tv – a life-casting site – after video gamers began using the site to broadcast gameplay.

The company has raised more than US$35m in funding from investors that include Alsop Louie Partners, WestSummit Capital, Take-Two Interactive, Thrive Capital and Draper Associates.

“Amazon and Twitch optimise for our customers first and are both believers in the future of gaming,” said Twitch CEO Emmett Shear.

“Being part of Amazon will let us do even more for our community. We will be able to create tools and services faster than we could have independently. This change will mean great things for our community, and will let us bring Twitch to even more people around the world.”

Game controller image via Shutterstock

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com