Amazon Buying Twitch; Sorry, Google

Amazon announced on Monday that it has agreed to acquire the live video platform Twitch Interactive Inc. The news arrives after Twitch switched corporate names, moving from Inc. to Twitch Interactive, Inc. back in February 2014. Twitch then shut down earlier this month.

So why acquire Twitch? The press release says it all.

“In July, more than 55 million unique visitors viewed more than 15 billion minutes of content on Twitch produced by more than 1 million broadcasters, including individual gamers, pro players, publishers, developers, media outlets, conventions and stadium-filling e-sports organizations,” the press release said.

Twitch CEO Emmett Shear said that both Twitch and Amazon are “believers” in the future of gaming. He also indicated that Amazon will provide resources that will help Twitch grow even larger. Twitch will be able to create tools and services that wouldn’t have been possible had Twitch stood on its own two feet.

“This change will mean great things for our community, and will let us bring Twitch to even more people around the world,” he said.

According to the agreement, Amazon will shell out approximately $970 million in cash in exchange for all of the outstanding shares of Twitch. Both parties expect to seal the deal in the second half of 2014 should the customary closing conditions be favorable.

So what will Amazon do with Twitch? We’ve reached out for a response, but we’re betting the live streaming service will somehow be tied to Amazon’s game sales. For instance, if a gamer is watching a live feed of Battlefield 4, there could be a link directing the viewer to the product, such as “Buy Now.”

Previously, unnamed sources claimed that Google signed a deal to acquire Twitch for a meaty $1 billion. So why then did Twitch choose Amazon over Google/YouTube? According to Shear, it was because Amazon believed in the Twitch community.

“They share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster,” Shear said in a thank you letter. “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.”

Meanwhile, here’s what Amazon told Tom’s Hardware about the acquisition:

Amazon is highly invested in Games. We have a significant business selling video games, most game developers use AWS to build their game infrastructure, and we've continued to invest in improving the customer experience for gamers and game developers—developing original new games via Amazon Game Studios and releasing capabilities like Amazon Appstream and Amazon Cognito to remove even more heavy lifting from game development.

Twitch is another substantial step in this direction for Amazon. Twitch has fundamentally changed how games are consumed and interacted with, and it's a service that gamers and game broadcasters now find hard to live without. Playing video games started with single player gaming, then came multiplayer, now there’s Twitch. It's quite remarkable what Twitch has accomplished in such a short time, and we all believe this is just the beginning of what they will become over the long term.

As to the specifics, right now we’re focused on helping Twitch continue to do what they do best and grow their community. Beyond that, I’ll have to ask you to stay tuned.

Follow Kevin Parrish @exfileme. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • lelutinbanni
  • Shneiky
    Thats good news. The less stuff Google and Facebook own - the better for us all. Monopoly never brings anything good.
  • 10tacle
    Amazon has some reasonably good leadership from the top down. Their sales of products and merchandise have decreased since many states have gone to taxing Amazon sales, which was a big incentive for many E-shoppers. One report shows that for online Amazon purchases of $300+, sales fell by nearly 25%. I'm a contributor to that, having spent over $2k over the past year either at E-tailers who still do not charge sales tax in other states (NewEgg, B&H Photo, Raktuen, etc.) or at traditional brick & mortar stores depending on cost. You don't always get the best deal online even with no sales tax compared to B&M's (Micro Center and their CPU/Motherboard bundle deals are a classic example).

    So it is good for them to have the forward vision and realize they need to diversify and expand. Many companies who were large and successful companies are in graveyards of history because their leadership was too arrogant and ignorant to accept changing market conditions and adapt. I mean that's business school 101 stuff right there that so many have failed to remember.