Google-owned YouTube is in acquisition talks with live video-game streaming service Twitch, reports indicate. Entertainment publication Variety says a deal has been reached to the tune of $1 billion, potentially making it the largest in YouTube’s post-Google history. However, a report published by The Wall Street Journal dials things back slightly, saying the two companies are indeed discussing a deal, but it’s only in the early stages, and no decisions have been reached.
You’re almost certainly aware of YouTube, the world’s number one destination for online video, but you may not know Twitch. Based in San Francisco, Twitch lets gamers live-stream gameplay videos from a desktop computer, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One. Alternatively, recorded sessions can be uploaded to the site. It also plays host to some of the biggest live video game tournaments and claims to have 45 million monthly users.
If the acquisition talks turn out to be right, then YouTube is very keen to get in at the start of a growing phenomenon. Google’s video site may have its own fair share of gameplay videos already, but Twitch’s popularity could help it dominate what is becoming a very popular genre. In May, videos uploaded to YouTube by gamer PewDiePie received nearly 300 million views, and he has just over 26 million subscribers, making it the most popular channel on the site.
There’s still plenty of uncertainty over whether a deal will be struck. Variety quotes sources” familiar with the situation,” while a Twitch PR representative tweeted that the company doesn’t comment on rumors, so treat this as speculation for now. If it does turn out to be factual, and Variety’s sources are correct, this could be an all-cash deal, and it could be officially announced very soon.