Amazon to Buy Twitch for $970 Million

Jeff Bezos of Amazon
Courtesy of Amazon

Jeff Bezos of  CEO of Amazon.

Amazon is acquiring Twitch for $970 million. 

The gaming platform, which primarily hosts live streams of users playing video games that other visitors to the site can then watch and comment on, draws over 55 million unique viewers per month watching more than 15 billion minutes of content. It's the fourth most-trafficked website behind Netflix, Google, and Apple, according to the Wall Street Journal. Twitch entered the non-nerd consciousness a few months ago when VentureBeat announced Google's plan to buy it for $1 billion. That deal fell through, according to one of tech website Re/code's sources, which reported the deal earlier on Monday. 

“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," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, in a statement. "And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old. 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.”

Shear also wrote a note about the acquisition on Twitch. "Your talent, your passion, your dedication to gaming, your memes, your brilliance -- these have made Twitch what it is today," he commented. "I personally want to thank you, each and every member of the Twitch community, for what you’ve created. Thank you for sticking with us through growing pains and stumbles." 

Twitch had some rather public growing pains earlier this month when Shear announced that it would flag audio content that allegedly violated copyright restrictions (many suspected the move was a result of Google's interest) only to admit in a Reddit AMA, following an uproar in response to the news,  that the company had mishandled the situation. 

In more, less contentious news, Twitch has also recently expanded into live music streaming, hosting concerts by legendary cake-throwing DJ Steve Aoki -- which exceeded expectations with over 380,000 views overall -- and post-EDM wunderkind Porter Robinson, who also launched his own channel. That's in addition to other channels hosted by Diplo's label Mad Decent, Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst, electronic/ambient label Ghostly International, and Israeli DJ Borgore.

Regarding Twitch's expansion into music, Shear told Billboard earlier this month, "Twitch recently surveyed its community regarding content they wanted to see on the platform and more than 80% expressed interest in watching live music on our site. At the same time, we have been getting a lot of interest from the music industry since there is an obvious crossover appeal between the two cultures that dates back to when the earliest games boasted 8-bit soundtracks."

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