It was just days ago that viewers all over the world were concerned that Twitch, the most popular video game streaming website on the Internet, might be acquired by Google. Now The Information is reporting that not only has that deal fallen through, but Amazon is coming in to pick up the pieces. According to people familiar with the matter, Amazon is now in “late-stage talks” to acquire Twitch for $1 billion.
If you don’t know Twitch, consider yourself out of the loop and/or a Comcast customer service representative — more than 45 million people visit the site every month to watch everything from streamers playing games in their homes to massive competitive gaming events with prize pools in the millions. Earlier this year, Twitch reported that its streams regularly reach more viewers during primetime hours than MTV, TNT and AMC.
Amazon has been making a push of its own to attract the gaming crowd with the release of the Fire TV and the acquisition of Killer Instinct developer Double Helix Games. With the addition of Twitch, Amazon will have infiltrated every segment of the gaming market, but it’s still unclear how the retail giant plans to utilize its recent acquisitions.
UPDATE: Amazon has confirmed the acquisition via the following press release:
Amazon.com to Acquire Twitch
SEATTLE—August 25, 2014—Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Twitch Interactive, Inc., the leading live video platform for gamers. In July, more than 55 million unique visitors viewed more than 15 billion minutes of content on Twitch produced by more than 1 million broadcasters, including individual gamers, pro players, publishers, developers, media outlets, conventions and stadium-filling esports organizations.
“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,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “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,” said Twitch CEO Emmett Shear. “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.”
Twitch launched in June 2011 to focus exclusively on live video for gamers. Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by Twitch’s shareholders, Amazon will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Twitch for approximately $970 million in cash, as adjusted for the assumption of options and other items. Subject to customary closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2014.