5 possible reasons why Google wants to buy Twitch and they might not be what you expect
It has been reported that Google has set its sights on live game streaming sensation Twitch as its next major acquisition and it must be said that it doesn't come as that much of a surprise to us.
Twitch has risen in popularity rapidly and even more so since the launches of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One next generation consoles. It could be argued that it has even created its own counter culture or broadcasting network, with over one million regular broadcasters and 45 million people watching. And those are figures that clearly attract attention, especially from web giants with their own video streaming services.
But perhaps there's more to Google's interest in Twitch that meets the eye. After all, it is reportedly willing to cough up $1 billion for the privilege of adding it to its portfolio. That's a lot of beans to count.
Here's some of the reasons we think could have helped spur Google on.
For the kids
Google's YouTube service has a very healthy network of young channel posters as it is, but Twitch seems to be targeting a younger audience directly and more obviously.
And while YouTube offers live streaming for special occasions, it is more about on demand video and socially shared content than playing host to gaming audiences happy to sit and watch in-game footage played in real time.
It's a rival to YouTube
There have been whispers amongst the gaming community that Twitch could look to spread its wings more in future and broaden its approach. Perhaps even to outside the gaming sphere. It makes sense therefore that YouTube sees it as a possible direct threat for the future.
One way to nip that in the bud is to stamp on it now. Own it and ensure that the business sticks to what it's good at, leaving YouTube rival-free - at least from Twitch and its community.
To help relaunch Android gaming
The Nvidia Shield Tablet is the first such device to be authorised for live Twitch streaming, but surely that's just the beginning of what is possible. Google will no doubt love to have a big name to wave around to attract the hardcore gaming community to an Android platform that has, in the past, failed to offer a credible alternative to conventional home and portable videogames machines.
Twitch is mostly not used by casual gamers, either in the posting or watching of content. Having the option available hardbaked into Android or Google services would show the company's intentions when it comes to offering a gaming platform that is more than a mobile experience.
Because it can
Google has a lot of money. A lot. And it would not like the three-year-old Twitch from falling into the hands of a major rival. So, apart from the fact that once monetised correctly the massive following of the service can be turned into a mighty revenue stream, it makes sense to invest the billion dollars in a concern that it would rather didn't belong to the Microsofts or Sonys of this world.
The final reason is not so much why Google wants to buy Twitch but why Twitch might want to sell to Google: growth. Twitch has grown massively, specifically in the last year, but does not have the financial weight of Google to expand its services further.
Whether that is Google's intention or not is another matter. It might want to keep Twitch running as it is, leaving YouTube to cover all other options and eventualities. However, it can certainly bump up the cash when needed and it's not like it's short of a server or two.
If you have any other thoughts on why Google might want to buy Twitch, let us know in the comments below...