Twitch, a streaming website for video games, has recently been acquired by Amazon for more than a billion dollars.
For the uninformed, and according to CNN, Twitch is a streaming site founded in 2011 that welcomes millions of visitors that tune in to watch various people play video games, including tournaments for games like League of Legends. CNN also notes that Twitch formed an unprecedented 1.35% of Internet traffic in March.
As noted by Extreme Tech, Google had long been in the running to be the one to acquire Twitch for more than one billion dollars. In the wake of this announcement, Twitch had begun to make numerous unpopular changes, including an algorithm that closed archived videos that played copyrighted music.
Yet, in the months that followed the rumors of Google’s acquisition, neither company confirmed that the transaction actually happened, and it was questioned whether the acquisition had actually taken place.
Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon acquired the streaming website, after the negotiations for the deal with Google had supposedly soured. According to Forbes, Google was uncomfortable and concerned with potential antitrust issues that could arise from such a partnership.
As noted by Extreme Tech, Amazon has been increasing its efforts in its video gaming division. While its unique console has made middling sales and little public attention, Amazon has purchased Double Helix, a studio who made pubic and critical acclaim for a recent Xbox One reboot of Killer Instinct. Famous developers like Kim Swift (Portal) and Clint Hocking (Far Cry 2, Splinter Cell) have also signed contracts with Amazon.
It seems that Amazon is trying to make its name synonymous with gaming culture, but for what end has yet to be seen. What games or policies that will come from this partnership with Twitch or these acquisitions of developers has yet to be announced or detailed.
However, as posited by CNN, the acquisition of Twitch may validate video games as a spectator sport, with huge advertising revenue potential.
Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, in a public statement, seems to echo this sentiment, "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."
It has also been posited by Forbes that Amazon may have goals for Twitch that extend beyond gaming, possibly extending the service to multiple hobbies.
As noted by Bloomberg, Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch will be the companies second largest acquisition, following only a 2009 $1.19 billion purchase of Zappos.com Inc.