With its recent acquisition of computer game streaming website Twitch, Amazon has finally entered the Gaming industry. This foray into new waters, however, is slightly different to most gaming platforms. It is just further proof that Amazons CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, can be restricted by no one, even if it costs him a billion dollars.
Amazon Vs. Google
Interestingly, Amazon managed to disrupt the sale of Twitch to Google and YouTube, in what was viewed as essentially a done deal. Any battle between Google and Amazon is guaranteed to be interesting as they are rightfully both viewed as internet royalty. But, beating the mighty Google is something to be celebrated by any business.
Most importantly it allows Jeff Bezos to expand his own empire even further into the world of online streaming. While Amazon already has a streaming service for their Kindle devices, it is limited compared to some other platforms.
Netflix and YouTube provide much more robust and comprehensive services than Amazon. And YouTube in particular, which is owned by Google, has long been the king of online streaming. It may be almost impossible to break Googles dominance for uploading everyday videos, but Amazon can prosper in other areas.
Is Computer Game Streaming Worth a Billion Dollars?
It appears that with its recent purchase Amazon is trying to become the dominant player in the computer game streaming market. Twitch has a different business model than most gaming platforms. Instead of playing games, you watch other people play games. The concept is that you can stream videos of yourself playing computer games. This could be of help if you are stuck in a game or if you just really love Call of Duty and want to watch a sniper match.
Even if it sounds like a crazy concept the site is amazingly popular, in July of this year the website boasted 55 million unique visitors per month. And the fact that the company cost Amazon $970 million dollars to buy shows just how much people like watching each other play computer games. As Jeff Bezos said, 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, So if Amazon are going to become dominant in any form of streaming they have certainly picked the best option.
Of course, some argue that it is merely another in a string of billion dollar purchases by the likes of Facebook, Google and Amazon. Companies are being valued at hundreds of millions or billions of dollars without ever making a profit and the actual value is questionable. Research Director of Consumer Technology a Gartner, Brian Blau, said I’m sure that there’s a spreadsheet somewhere that has a valuation that gets to that. But in the end, you’re starting to see a lot of these billion dollar deals and it seems that if you want to play poker, a billion dollars is what it costs to have a seat at the table,
Will purchasing Twitch bring the change that Amazon wants and allow them to break into the streaming market effectively? Or will computer game streaming be a fleeting trend that will fade out of fashion in a few years? It is impossible to tell the future, but even if it is just a fad Bezos may have not wasted a billion dollars because at the very least he has stopped Google from buying the company.