AMAZON HAS SPLASHED OUT $1bn to buy console game streaming and sharing service Twitch.
Twitch has been something of a games console darling since its launch and both Microsoft and Sony have promoted it on their hardware. It lets gamers stream action, guides and other gaming related content to share with other players.
Its suitability for purchase, and its likely price, had already been hinted at, and earlier we reported that Google was interested.
Then, as now, the figure of $1bn was mentioned. The acquisition and the price have been announced, and the buyout apparently is a done deal. Instead of rumoured likely purchasers Microsoft, Sony and Google, Jeff Bezos' Amazon has announced that it has bought Twitch.
According to Twitch, 45 million people use its services every month to broadcast their play, and in a letter its CEO did not suggest that this is likely to change.
"It's almost unbelievable that slightly more than [three] years ago, Twitch didn't exist. The moment we launched, we knew we had stumbled across something special. But what followed surprised us as much as anyone else, and the impact it's had on both the community and us has been truly profound," wrote Twitch CEO Emmett Shear.
"Together with you, we've found new ways of connecting developers and publishers with their fans. We've created a whole new kind of career that lets people make a living sharing their love of games. We've brought billions of hours of entertainment, laughter, joy and the occasional ragequit. I think we can all call that a pretty good start. Today, I'm pleased to announce we've been acquired by Amazon."
Twitch is a definite winner. Both Microsoft and Sony have promoted their Twitch services in the games industry and both have claimed to have seen significant customer interest and strong uptake from users of the service.
In April Microsoft said that its Xbox One users have twitched 23 million minutes away. When Sony was the only games console maker offering Twitch to its users it estimated that it had a 20 percent share of the service.
"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." µ