The gaming web site Twitch is reportedly going to be acquired by Google for $1 billion. The acquisition is still being negotiated, and Twitch is reported to have shunned offers from other interested purchasers like Microsoft. The streaming startup site which hosts broadcasting gaming videos was founded in 2011, since then Twitch has claimed to have amassed 1 million users who upload video content onto the site, and boasts a total of 45 million monthly users.
Google’s interest in Twitch stems from Twitch’s ability to generate more web traffic than sites like Amazon, Hulu, and Facebook. Sandvine conducted a survey which revealed that 1.35% of all internet traffic in the United States during peak hours was accounted for by Twitch.
Online gaming broadcasts have become increasingly popular. PewDiePie, a video game guru and presenter, is dominating YouTube with his commentary video game uploads. Currently, he has accumulated 26.4 million subscribers and has managed to rack up 296.6 million video views.
PewDiePie combines a mixture of humour and his own personal gaming knowledge to inform viewers about the latest video game releases. This has proved to be a winning combination which has most likely prompted Google to buy Twitch. Google also brought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion, and is now keen to capitalise upon the online video gaming trend of “Let’s Play” videos (gaming video tutorials) that is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
YouTube has previously failed to enjoy similar success, not in the form of investment, but in becoming a relevant platform for gamers who wish to upload their own gaming videos. This acquisition should finally allow Google to achieve this.
Twitch is the ideal purchase for Google in this regard, because the site has a track record for investments, it has become synonymous with the gaming community as well - a niche part of the consumer market. In 2013 Twitch was able to raise $20 million from investors which included video game publishers like Take-Two Interactive. The website’s proven track record of commercial and financial success will allow Google to finally access a part of the market that the company has shown previous interest in.
Twitch is unique because it allows users to play video games live, give donations to each other, and upload their own “Let’s Play” videos as well. In addition to this, the site has introduced Turbo subscriptions this year which allows users to by-pass having to view any ads on the site, and other perks.
The site’s rise to live gaming notoriety has been controversial, members of the site’s staff were disciplined in regards to an incident when a user complained about “innocuous remarks” that were made about him on the site that were not monitored by the site’s staff appropriately.
Both Google and Twitch have refused to comment on the acquisition which isn’t unusual for an all-cash deal, but one thing we can be certain of is that Twitch is sophisticated, and successful enough to accommodate Google’s goal of finally conquering the online and live gaming market.