Google has reportedly purchased game streaming specialist Twitch in a deal valued at $1 billion, with the plan of integrating the system into its YouTube video sharing platform.
Although not yet announced by either company, the acquisition - first rumoured by Variety
back in May - has been confirmed by multiple independent sources and sees Twitch become a wholly-owned subsidiary of advertising giant Google. Launched just three years ago, Justin.tv subsidiary Twitch rapidly became one of the most popular methods of streaming live gameplay and eSports matches. Its position as the pre-eminent game streaming service was assured when the company signed deals to have its software used on both Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PS4 consoles.
The deal to merge Twitch functionality into Google's YouTube platform makes sense, but is a major move for the advertising company: it has previously shied away from focusing on one particular type of content, preferring instead to offer a platform suited to any video type. It also opens the company up to potential legal trouble: certain games publishers have been targeting streamers with claims of copyright infringement, allowing their titles to be broadcast only if the lion's share of advertising revenue is given up.
The precise terms of the deal, and whether Google plans to continue to operate Twitch as a subsidiary company or roll it completely into the YouTube platform, have not yet been announced.