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Amazon buys Twitch for $970 million

amatwitchWell here’s something very few people saw coming, and it happens to involve two things I write about very frequently!

This Monday, on August 25th, online retail giant Amazon announced that they will be acquiring the popular video game streaming service Twitch for $970 million in cash. The deal is expected to fully close in the second half of this year.

To many people, this comes as a surprise. In late July, VentureBeat reported that Google, through their YouTube division, had bought Twitch for $1 billion. Neither company would confirm the deal. Following that, Twitch unleashed their controversial changes to their video on demand services, with many people tying the act to Google’s potential purchase. And, yet, here today, Twitch is now a part of Amazon’s family and not Google’s.

In an email to the community, Twitch CEO Emmet Shear said, “We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster.” He says that Twitch will continue business as usual. “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.”

In Amazon’s statement to the press, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos expressed extreme familiarity with the video game streaming service, saying, “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 – from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old.”

For many people, Amazon beating Google out of the deal grants a sigh of relief. Sources familiar with the acquisition talks claim Google backed out over concerns regarding potential antitrust issues. Google already owns YouTube, probably the world’s largest source of video-related content, with more than a billion online users. Adding Twitch’s user base of 55 million may look like chump change in comparison, but buying up that potential competition likely wouldn’t do them many favors.

If the CEOs of Twitch and Amazon are to be believed, Twitch users will likely see much benefit from Amazon’s resources to fight against the inevitable competition with other video services, including YouTube. In this regard, Shear said, “Being part of Amazon will let us do even more for our community. 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.”

Amazon has recently expressed a great interest into getting a piece of the video game pie. They’ve been gobbling up highly regarded video game talent to form Amazon Game Studios and made games a large part of their Fire TV strategy. Mike Frazzini, vice president of Amazon Games said, “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…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.”

alfredoBy Alfredo Dizon, eParisExtra

A graduate from the University of North Texas, with a Bachelor’s in English and a minor in Japanese, Alfredo seeks to use his media skills as a vehicle to grow interest and discussion in topics of fascination, intrigue, and oddity related to the field of technology.

Throughout his life, he has immersed himself in all facets of “geek culture” and “nerdom,” from video games and cosplay, to the latest in peculiar science and gadgets. These hobbies highlight his desire to explore and expose these growing industries to a greater audience, and also this stuff is just too weird to not write about.

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