Apparently, cats no longer have a monopoly over our Internet addictions. TechCrunch and several other news sources are reporting that Twitch, a streaming site that lets people watch others play video games, has been bought by Amazon after a prolonged bidding war with Google. Though a final purchase price has yet to be announced, rumors abound that it could top $1 billion.
What’s surprising about the deal is that Google was long considered to be the front-runner, but evidently lost in the 11th hour. One theory that has been caught in the rumor mill is that Google’s original $1 billion offer reportedly undervalued the company.
Twitch CEO Emmett Shear explains his decision to go with Amazon in more ambiguous (read: media-friendly) terms below:
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. 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.
Launched in 2011 as a video game-oriented branch of video-streaming site Justin.tv, Twitch quickly gained popularity among gaming enthusiasts and e-sports competitors. Users can create their own channels, upload footage of themselves playing games, add commentary and even host their own shows straight from their gaming setup at home. It’s worth mentioning that it’s so important to have all of the right equipment to be able to properly enjoy gaming at home. For example, it’s so annoying when the game lags behind in comparison to the players you’re up against or working alongside, and even more so when the audio is just slightly out. This is why many people look to using special cables that you can read more about at https://www.hdmi.org/spec21sub/gaming. This ensures that visual aspects and the sound of the game are correctly aligned throughout which is especially important when so many people are tuning in to watch you play.
E-sports matches – competitive video gaming – are also regularly broadcast via Twitch which as lead to a boom in the industry. Even gambling firms are taking advantage of this, with many different esports betting sites being set up online. This allows a gamer’s audience to become more invested in watching games since e they could win some money if their wager pays off. Games similar to League of Legends are popular with their own viewership, which often sees users getting an unranked smurfs accounts and playing the game with their viewers.
People evidently love to watch other people play games. According to Business Insider, 58 percent of Twitch users spent more than 20 hours on the site per week, and online video analytics site Qwilt reported that Twitch accounted for more than 40 percent of live-streaming traffic by volume. Twitch raised $35 million between 2012 and 2013 from Bessemer Venture Partners, Alsop Louie Partners, WestSummit Capital, Draper Associates and others.
Interesting that watching other people play videos has become almost as big of a business as actually playing them.
Photo Credit: Stephen Andrew via Flickr