Amazon is apparently about to acquire Twitch out from under Google's nose.
Update: Amazon has bought Twitch for $970 million (£585 million). In a statement, Jeff Bezos, CEO at Amazon, 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.”
Venture Beat reported in July that Google had signed a deal to buy Twitch, a live-steaming service primarily used for video games, though neither company confirmed the report. Variety similarly reported in May that Google reached a preliminary agreement to acquire Twitch for $1 billion in cash. That said, according to a new report from The Information, Google never signed a thing, creating an opening for Amazon to make a bid.
Google reportedly wanted Twitch in order to bolster YouTube. Twitch's focus since launch in 2011 has been on esports and video gaming, rather than online video clips. The San Francisco-based company has more than 50 million monthly users, and each user watches an average of 106 minutes of video every day and has access to features like the ability to upload and watch gameplay videos. Twitch generates revenue through both ads and
Unlike Google-owned YouTube, it is not immediately clear why Amazon would want to acquire Twitch. It might have something to do with one of Amazon's latest hardware products, however: Amazon Fire TV. The set-top box not only pipes films and television shows into living rooms but also allows people to play Amazon Android games. The device even works with a game controller made by Amazon, though it must be purchased separately.
Now that video gaming is a serious effort at Amazon, the company is likely exploring ways to expand Amazon Fire TV features such as including hosted live streams, real-time gameplay videos, and much more. Twitch will help Amazon reach those goals, while also allowing it to tap into a larger user base of gamers.
Emmett Shear, the CEO of Twitch, said in a statement on 25 August that being part of Amazon will let Twitch do even more: "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.”