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Amazon buys Twitch for $970 million

Amazon buys Twitch for $970 million

Three-year-old game streaming specialist Twitch is now an Amazon subsidiary, as the everything-seller beats Google to the punch in a near-$1 billion deal.

Google's planned purchase of game streaming specialist Twitch has been derailed, with everything-seller Amazon pipping it to the post in a buyout valued at $970 million in cash.

Variety was the first to report that Google was in the process of buying Twitch, a three-year-old start-up that specialises in recording and streaming live game footage from PCs and consoles, in a deal valued at $1 billion. In July, anonymous sources claimed the ink was dry on the paperwork, a fact that seemed to be confirmed when Twitch launched music copyright scanning similar to that already in place on Google's YouTube streaming service.

Now, though, Twitch has a different owner: Amazon. '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,' boasted Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos of the deal. '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.'

Anonymous sources speaking to Forbes claim that the reports of Google's offer were genuine, but fell through at the last hurdle as the company raised concerns about potential antitrust issues thanks to its sole ownership of YouTube.

'Today, I'm pleased to announce we've been acquired by Amazon,' Twitch chief executive Emmet Shear confirmed in a statement to press. 'We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster. We're keeping most everything the same: our office, our employees, our brand, and most importantly our independence. But with Amazon's support we’ll have the resources to bring you an even better Twitch.'

Shear's full message to the Twitch community can be read on the official website.

6 Comments

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BradShort 26th August 2014, 10:38 Quote
Not sure what to make of this really. I can see direct access to offers and discounts from certain streams taking off and Amazon using the platform to promote their Video Game offerings but gamers are savvy, and unless Amazon can compete with the other online retailers on price for vid games, I'm sure that Twitch will remain a source for information, reviews and game casting.
Corky42 26th August 2014, 11:39 Quote
Amazon is preferable over Google, they probably would have turned it into a YouTube clone for gaming and ruined it, at least with Amazon they may have a little more say in how it's run (hopefully).
BLC 28th August 2014, 08:54 Quote
It's mentioned in the article, but I don't think Google would have been allowed to buy out Twitch. YouTube is pretty much the number 1 site for user-created videos, and Google also having the number 1 site for video game streaming under their belt is bound to raise some competition issues.

I certainly wouldn't have expected Twitch to be bought out by Amazon though. On the surface it's hard to see what Amazon would bring to the party; at least Google have a lot of experience with video traffic. It's certainly a good opportunity to get even more revenue from affiliate marketing: lots of "big" streamers are already Amazon affiliates, so it's likely that this process could be made much slicker and more money being put on the table. Amazon are already pretty competitive when it comes to gaming if you ask me - you can usually find games on Amazon much cheaper than the big PC platforms like Steam and Origin.

FWIW I've already moved away from Twitch. I don't really stream that much anyway (although I've been threatening to set up a regular streaming schedule for a while) but it's starting to feel a lot like YouTube. The channels that people tend to casually stumble across are the ones which already have a huge following (and often have a lot of money behind them), and it's very hard for newcomers on the ground floor to build their audience. I'm trying out Hitbox at the moment as it seems like a credible competitor - although not in terms of user base - and it seems pretty good so far. Even though some of the senior people at Hitbox have come from own3d.tv which went down in flames while owing an awful lot of money to streamers...
Gareth Halfacree 28th August 2014, 10:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC
I certainly wouldn't have expected Twitch to be bought out by Amazon though. On the surface it's hard to see what Amazon would bring to the party; at least Google have a lot of experience with video traffic.
Remember that Amazon owns Lovefilm, and runs its own Amazon Instant on-demand video service (part of Amazon Prime). Sure, we're not talking YouTube levels of traffic here, but Amazon certainly has at least a bit of experience in on-demand streaming - even if not live-streaming.
BLC 28th August 2014, 10:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Remember that Amazon owns Lovefilm, and runs its own Amazon Instant on-demand video service (part of Amazon Prime). Sure, we're not talking YouTube levels of traffic here, but Amazon certainly has at least a bit of experience in on-demand streaming - even if not live-streaming.

True, they do. I should have worded that better, what I think I meant (but didn't say) was game-related video content. Google has made quite a lot of money for quite a lot of people on the back of gaming videos - Yogscast, PewDiePie & TotalBiscuit are some of the examples usually trotted out - but it's new ground for Amazon. Twitch being acquired by Google would make sense from that point of view, but there are those pesky competition issues to worry about.

I'm still a little stumped by why Amazon want Twitch; like everyone else I thought it was a done deal with Google when the new copyright restrictions and the Great Twitch Wipe of 2014 came into effect. I guess it isn't exactly a new situation - you might also ask why a web retail giant would also offer a hugely scalable cloud computing platform. The difference is that Amazon's cloud platform, in all its various incarnations, didn't involve a near $1bn acquisition as far as I know.

Perhaps it really is just expanding their portfolio, but they must see a massive opportunity in Twitch or they wouldn't have paid so much money for it.
siliconfanatic 29th August 2014, 00:56 Quote
I've noticed many people moaning about the twitch buyout news recently. Frankly, I couldn't care less as long as it still allows me to stream. Then again, I don't play crappy music while playing games either. I talk with other members and have a good time, answer this and that so no problemo here.
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