Amazon gets into games by acquiring Twitch streaming service for $970 million

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UPDATE: It’s official. A press release from Twitch confirms that Amazon will purchase the streaming service. The online retailer will pay roughly $970 million to purchase all outstanding shares of Twitch. That falls in line with the previously rumored $1 billion purchase price.

“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,” Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos said in the announcement. “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.”

“Amazon and Twitch optimize for our customers first and are both believers in the future of gaming,” Twitch CEO Emmett 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.”

That’s the extent of official words on the matter for the time being. Twitch launched in 2011 as a platform from which gamers could share live videos of their gameplay. The popularity of Let’s Play series’ on YouTube and other gameplay-focused broadcasts on the Internet helped propel Twitch’s popularity, with integration of the streaming service on the new PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles further securing its popularity. As Shear suggested, having access to Amazon’s resources should help the service grow even further.

ORIGINAL POST: A new report from The Information and further corroborated by the Wall Street Journal (both sites require subscriptions) suggests that Amazon is in final negotiations to purchase game-streaming service Twitch for $1 billion, instead of Google as earlier rumors had suggested (via Ars Technica).

Twitch attracts 45 million unique viewers every month to watch live streams of gamers playing nearly anything you can think of. That makes it the largest video gaming website by a considerable margin, and an attractive buy for any company looking to establish a foothold in gaming, as both Amazon and Google have signaled in recent years.

Three months ago, rumors began to flood tech media that Google was in negotiations to purchase Twitch, also for $1 billion. Although the news was framed as “confirmed” at the time, the lack of named sources speaking to the news left some dangling question marks.

Already owning the premier site for Internet video, YouTube, Google seemed a natural fit to purchase the game-streaming giant and roll it into the company’s extant infrastructure. Neither company ever provided any confirmation, though, and as the summer passed without any official announcement, many questioned whether the deal had fallen through.

According to the sources cited by The Information and WSJ, the deal between Amazon and Twitch is effectively done, and will likely be announced this week. We will update this article as more information comes to light.