Back in May, Google was reportedly in early talks to acquire Twitch. Also known as Twitch.TV, this live video streaming site is beloved by hordes of video game fans. As of July 24, VentureBeat reported that the rumored deal had been finalized. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Some People Think the Deal Is ‘Unsettling’
Google wants to buy Twitch, I hope they don’t ruin twitch by forcing on G+ like they did with YouTube
— SB Sway (@SBSway) May 19, 2014
Forbes contributor Paul Tassi has called the potential Google takeover of Twitch “unsettling.” In his rundown of the rumored deal, he writes:
“With access to Google’s unlimited money pool, Twitch could grow in ways it never could before, resulting in better stability, wider reach and more innovative livestreaming tech. That said, the potential downsides here are even more apparent, and the gaming public is now on edge as this story is unfolding.
Before news of this potential deal, Twitch seemed like something of a monopoly in the livestreaming space, where YouTube has been equally unchallenged in recorded video. When asking who could pose a threat to either service, YouTube was getting pretty good with their own livestreaming technology and seemed like they were starting to encroach on Twitch’s territory. And if Twitch could get a handle on its own player/recorded videos, perhaps they could have hoped to make a dent in YouTube’s armor someday.
But now? If the two became one, all of that would be out the window. Neither would have to compete with the other, and even if they were tackling different aspects of video initially, they’d merge into some sort of invincible uber-portal.”
Tassi also notes that Google-owned YouTube is “notorious” for taking down content that contains unlicensed music. That could pose a problem for people on Twitch who stream their games with their own music playing in the background, or for streamers who play games with copyrighted music.
2. Twitch Is ‘The ESPN of Video Games’
In the audio above, you can listen to a report about Twitch’s recent “Twitch Plays Pokemon” event.
Forbes has referred to Twitch as “the ESPN of video games.” For people who like to want pro gamers lay waste to their digital foes, Twitch is the premiere destination. Both home players and professional tournaments are featured on Twitch, with the site hosting up to 10,000 video streams at any given time.
Forbes notes that in one month:
“Twitch attracted over 45 million unique viewers, each watching, on average, 100 minutes of video a day. Those are outrageous numbers for a company that’s just two years old. Six-year-old Internet video service Hulu–backed by Disney, NBCUniversal and 21st Century Fox–attracts just 30 million viewers a month, who watch for 50 minutes per session.”
3. Google/YouTube Reportedly Paid $1 Billion For Twitch
This chart nicely illustrates why Google wants to buy Twitch. $1 billion actually seems cheap. pic.twitter.com/voeYqvERAN
— Ben Popper (@benpopper) May 19, 2014
CNNMoney notes that Google-backed YouTube would pay as much as $1 billion for Twitch. VentureBeat’s sources confirmed that amount in a July report.
As a basis for comparison, when Google bought YouTube in 2006, they paid $1.65 billion.
4. Twitch Is a Multi-Platform Experience
The Guardian notes that Twitch is more than just a website. It has a presence across many different gaming consoles and mobile platforms:
“Twitch’s biggest recent moves have been integration into Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One consoles, which both enable people to livestream video of their gaming exploits. Within a month of the PS4’s release in mid-November, 100,000 new broadcasters had signed up.
Twitch also has an app for Amazon’s recently-launched Fire TV set top box-cum-console. Where it’s not so big – yet – is in mobile gaming. There are Twitch apps for iOS and Android, but they’re purely for watching and chatting about videos, rather than broadcasting them from within games on those devices.”
5. Twitch Was Also Courted by Microsoft
— The Verge (@verge) May 19, 2014
The Verge reports that Microsoft was also interested in buying Twitch.
It is worth noting that while both Google and Twitch have agreed on a purchase price, the precise terms of the deal are still being hammered out. Therefore, the deal is not yet final.
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