$970 million dollars! Amazon purchased Twitch Interactive on August 25th, 2014.
Google was rumored to be interested too but that deal seemed to have fallen through.
Many gamers have mixed feelings about the sale of Twitch to Amazon. It was originally anticipated that Google would be purchasing Twitch and that it would somehow likely be integrated into YouTube and Google+, which would have had huge ripple effects in the YouTube community, particularly among “Let’s Play” style channels. From a monetization standpoint this could have been a big win for Google, which begs the question why did they drop out of the bidding?
Apparently the primary reason Google dropped out of the bidding for Twitch came down to anti-trust issues. Google has been under investigation for anti-trust before and having Twitch would certainly make it seem like they had the monopoly on live streaming, especially within Gaming. Rather than have the FCC try and block the deal, Google simply chose to bow out. While this may be the smart play in the long run what does that mean for Twitch?
Amazon has moved into some very interesting markets as of late, with its own audio streaming and video streaming services, as well as it’s own payment system. There are also rumors of them creating a competitive advertising network which could mean they may be able to offer monetization much in the way Google Adsense and YouTube ads do today. If this is true then Twitch and the younger market that comes with it could be a huge money maker for Amazon in the near future.
Amazon has always been good at predicting future trends and positioning itself to take advantage of them. Gaming which was a niche market just a decade ago has gone mainstream and is growing exponentially and has an audience with a very long life cycle. Moreover the popularity of gaming is universal and has even spawned a professional competitive circuit via ESports and MLG (Major Leauge Gaming).
With the infrastructure and capital Amazon has at it’s disposal it can easily grow Twitch in the global market place and establish Amazon’s credibility as a gaming company. Amazon also has the relationships and licensing deals in place necessary to handle the copyright and in gaming music issues that have been an issue for Twitch in the past. Amazon has a relationship with nearly every major player in media, even more so than Google actually, though it may lack the same level of experience in dealing with copyright claims within user generated content.
The Amazon Fire TV product and Kindle Fire also put some interesting possibilities on the table for Twitch. Amazon is in the process of developing its own gamepad, which could mean that original games that directly stream into Twitch via Amazon devices is likely part of the long term game plan in this partnership and would give them something unique among competitors like Apple and Android.
Overall this development seems to have many positives in store for the gaming community. The Amazon sale likely ensures that the Twitch channel partner program will become more accessible similar to what has happened with YouTube. The in game audio copyright issues will likely be resolved more easily due to Amazon’s relationships. Most importantly due to experience and resources Amazon can offer in terms of streaming, they overall experience of Twitch will likely improve dramatically as time goes on and it continues to grow.